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Tech Talk: New Device, BACh, Promises To Bring Less Skilled Piano Players To New Heights

By Aurora Banks | June 04, 2016 02:40 PM EDT

A mind-reading device called BACh (Brain Automated Chorales) may be able to teach piano in a much faster way.

"[P]layers who are less skilled (i.e. play more incorrect notes or make more errors) tend to benefit more greatly from BACh, with steeper slopes demonstrating that there was a larger difference between the two conditions," according to the researchers from Tufts University.

This new device allows a student to play musical pieces in a matter of minutes by monitoring how a person's brain works as well as the oxygen levels with the use of functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). BACh determines ones capacity to learn the piano and at what rate

Learning to play the piano in a traditional way can be quite challenging. It can be tough and boring to some as it requires repetition and thorough recognition of tonal quality. A student will usually learn to play per hand first, but with the help of BACh, students will be able to learn the piano swiftly.

The device will measure a person's cognitive load, a term that refers to how high or low of a load of information your brain currently has. If one has a low cognitive load, this means that they are ready to acquire more new knowledge while if their cognitive load is heavy, this could result in mental exhaustion. "That could indicate that they're overloaded and you need to decrease the amount of information," Beste Yuksel, one of the researchers, explained.

BACh not only helps in learning the piano but can also enhance skills like reading, programming or even learning foreign languages.

"You could design the system however you want," Yuksel told Fast Company. "If you were teaching little kids how to read, you could start with the letters of the alphabet and build onto two-letter words. As long as it's a task that can be broken down into different levels of difficulty, you can increase the difficulty as cognitive load falls below a certain threshold. You could design for little children up to graduate-level electrical engineers. This system is a first step, but a powerful one."

Is BACh the answer to every aspiring musician's dreams? The public will sure to find out when it hits the market.

Tagged :  world news

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