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The Prius Piano Turns a Car into a Multisensory Musical Instrument

Check out the colorful lights and sound of the car-turned-instrument.

Many people know what it's like to drive a car, but few have ever played one. Attendees of the Future Forward events in New York, Chicago, and LA, however, got the chance to do just that, when they took a seat behind the Prius Piano. The multisensory installation transformed notes on a keyboard into visual data that travels along the angles of the all-new Prius. Each touch of a key triggers an LED light, creating waves of rainbow-colored illumination, directly responding to the notes being played.


Dozens of partygoers took a seat behind the keyboard to create their own multimedia performance, no musical training—nor driver's license—required. As each press of a piano key sends light shimmering over the body of the vehicle the piano, then turns the music played by each person into a visual experience.

The car-instrument was designed by New York-based production studio Unit 9, which has created several other artistically enhanced Prius cars. These have included a Prius Sense Room using lasers, through which dancer Renee Kester navigated. Another was a piano that released colored smoke when played.

In the Prius Piano, instrument, player, and vehicle are interconnected, demonstrating how responsive a car can be to its surrounding environment and the individual behind the wheel (or piano).

To learn more about Unit 9, click here.


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