Have you ever tapped your fingers on a table top, playing out a tune in your imagination? You may not know the notes but you can hear them in your head and tap it out.

Well Bob does that too. So we came across a small item about a device called the Japanese Wrist-Mounted Finger Piano. It was $40 at ThinkGeek.com and we just had to have it.

The instructions were in Japanese. But nobody ever reads the instructions anyway, so we spent a few minutes fiddling with it and figured it out. You mount a 3-inch pad on your wrist and slip your fingers into the small pads attached to it. Push a few buttons and Viola!, as we say in fractured French, sound.

To say that it didn’t sound good understates the situation. There are three volume levels and three kinds of sound: piano, bells and cat. Or something like that.

The plain fact is, it sounded dreadful. But … there is the germ of a great idea here. Better touch-sensitive pads (instead of the klutzy push buttons they put under the finger tips) and the addition of motion sensing chips that could translate the force of the fingers into differences in volume, and done right, this could be the piano of tomorrow. Needs work. Please ring up your nearest electronics wizard.


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