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Simply Music Pianoˣ Challenge

 

The HeroX team is partnering with Simply Music on the Pianoˣ Challenge and we want your input! As we move toward a solution, we welcome your input and thoughts on this challenge.

 

The goal of the Simply Music Pianoˣ Challenge is to create Virtual Reality (VR) glasses that allow you to view a virtual display of a piano keyboard, and play it in a similar manner to how you would a traditional piano or keyboard. Our commitment is to take virtual pianos to a whole new level, and create an instrument that is as easy to transport as a harmonica and, like a harmonica, can be played just about anywhere.

THE CURRENT SCENARIO

Piano and keyboard remains the dominant instrument in developed nations. Although the internet has clearly transformed how music lessons can be delivered, traditional methods of teaching piano have remained largely unchanged for centuries. As a result, learning piano, even at a recreational level, remains a struggle for many, if not most students. An entirely new approach to music education is desperately needed.

Unfortunately, even for those students who may have online access to new teaching methodologies, or succeed with traditional approaches to learning, the physical size and weight of the piano causes it to be extremely inaccessible as an easy-to-use and socially relevant instrument -- pianos are physically impractical and completely unportable. Even electronic keyboards are large and bulky and, for the most part, require permanent access to the power grid. As such, there are entire populations of people who simply have no access to an instrument to learn on and play.

A NEW FUTURE

The ultimate goal of the Simply Music Pianoˣ Challenge is to facilitate a breakthrough in creativity for humanity, by allowing students, performing artists, hobbyists, and recreational musicians a new means of creative expression without physical limitations. Combining the Simply Music methodology with a portable VR instrument will overcome barriers to education, performance, accessibility, and availability of the instrument. The solution to the Simply Music Pianoˣ Challenge will make this possible.

 

Guidelines

 

The Simply Music Pianoˣ Challenge is awarding $1 million to the best solution for portable VR Glasses that display a virtual piano keyboard, and that is played in the style of a piano.  

 

CHALLENGE STRUCTURE

The Simply Music Pianoˣ Challenge has three stages:

  • Registration and Innovation

  • Final Submissions

  • Judging and Announcement of Challenge winner

 

CHALLENGE CRITERIA AND CHALLENGE PAYMENT

One Challenge Prize will be awarded at the end of the Challenge. The Team or Individual with a submission that best meets the judging criteria will be the sole winner of the Simply Music Pianoˣ Challenge.

 

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

The Challenge is open to Individuals, Teams and Organizations globally. To be eligible to compete, innovators must comply with all the terms of the Challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreements. The Challenge Agreements include restrictions on potential entrants that are intended to prevent conflicts of interest.

 

JUDGING PANEL

The Challenge will be judged by the official Judging Panel. The Judging Panel holds responsibility for evaluating all submissions against the winning criteria and the guidelines and rules for the Challenge. The panel will be responsible for evaluating compliance with these rules and guidelines and will have the sole and absolute discretion to select the Challenge Prize recipient. All decisions made by the Judging Panel shall be rendered by a majority of the judges and are final and binding on both the competitors and Simply Music and are not subject to review or contest.

A panel of highly qualified individuals will be selected by Simply Music to serve as the judges. All members of the judging panel will be required to sign Non-disclosure Agreements acknowledging that they make no claim to the Intellectual Property developed by individual competitors, teams, team sponsors, or partners.

 

JUDGING

All submissions must be received by Simply Music on or before September 1, 2015 5:00 PM PT. No submissions will be accepted after this date.

 

SUBMISSIONS

Challenge submissions must include:

  • Two versions of the prototype hardware/software for testing and evaluation

  • Completed submission form, including:

    • Signed Individual, Team or Organizational Registration Agreement

    • Questionnaire describing the development process, plans for finalizing the innovation, possible price point, individual, team or organization information, and description of the product

    • Operational instructions of the prototype

    • Technical specifications of the prototype

    • Technical contact person

    • Video showing device in use with narration (in English, only)

    • Completed testing results

 

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

All submissions must meet the following requirements to be included in the judging process for the Challenge. A submission that does not meet these requirements will be considered incomplete and will not be eligible for judging.

 

  • The submission must be original work and be owned or the property of the competitor.

  • All platform use agreements must be satisfied (e.g., if the submission uses Google Glass, rights to work with Google Glass must be satisfied), if third-party technology is used, the competitor must have the right to use the technology in their submission.

  • Submissions must be a wearable device that weighs less than 13.5ozs and is wearable for long periods of time without causing fatigue or harm.

  • Submissions must be playable (and heard by the user) without being plugged in to the power grid.

  • Submissions must be playable unplugged for 2 hours without requiring a recharge.

  • Submissions must be rechargeable.   

  • Submissions must be able to connect wirelessly to external amplifiers or MIDI sound-module devices etc.

  • Submissions must be updatable (software updates can be done via computer or internet).

  • Submissions must be functionally self-contained (all the pieces needed for the user to play and hear the piano must be contained within the wearable device).

  • Submissions must display at least 49 keys and appear like a standard keyboard (key placement, size, and color)

 

WINNING CRITERIA

Judging will include:

  • Usability testing (60% of the score) - All prototypes that meet the minimum requirements will be tested by target users including beginning piano students, experienced musicians, “non-musicians,” and gamers.

  • Testing of Prototypes (35% of the score) - Innovators will submit their prototypes for testing for tonal accuracy, durability, and quality of implementation of the feature set.

  • Two-Page Questionnaire (5% of the score) - Judging Panel will assess the innovators’ articulation of their vision for the product, their business plans, and a summary of their work to date.

 

Usability Testing

Each prototype will be tested by two each of the following types of users:

 

  • Experienced pianists

  • Novice piano students

  • Gamers

  • Non-gamers, non-pianists

 

Participants will be asked to complete a series of tasks with the prototype which they will judge on a scale of 0 (lowest) - 5 (highest).provide sheet music.

 

Ease of turning on and beginning to using prototype

scale from 0-5

5 points toward total

Ease of striking keys

scale from 0-5

5 points toward total

Ease of seeing keys

scale from 0-5

5 points toward total

Keyboard position remains stationary as expected

scale from 0-5

5 points toward total

Keys respond to finger motion as expected

scale from 0-5

5 points toward total

Sound and finger motion are synchronized (sense of latency)

scale from 0-5

5 points toward total

Overall ease of use

scale from 0-5

10 points toward total

Overall experience

scale from 0-5

10 points toward total

Ability to play selected pieces of music (varied to users’ abilities)

scale from 0-5

10 points toward total

 

After playing each prototype, the users will be asked to rank the following questions:

  • Ease of learning

  • Ease of use

  • Desirability

  • Satisfaction with quality of sound

  • Functionality for a beginning student/player user

  • Functionality for an intermediate student/player user

  • Functionality for a more advanced student/player user

  • Ability for a user to know they struck a key or that their fingers are on a key

 

Testing of Prototypes

 

Notes play with consistent accuracy (e.g. A above middle C is A440 universal pitch standard)

scale from 0-5

10 points toward total

Quality and accuracy of internal sound playback

scale from 0-5

10 points toward total

Quality and accuracy of external sound output

scale from 0-5

5 points toward total

Polyphony of at least 6 notes

scale from 0-5

5 points toward total

Durability - device’s reaction to stress tests;  dropping, moisture, heat, cold

scale from 0-5

5 points toward total

 

Questionnaire

Each Judge will rank the submitted questionnaires on a scale of 0-10 based on competitor’s articulation of the following:

  • Product vision
  • Business plan for getting product to market
  • Anticipated price point for the product
  • A summary of work to date on the product

Judges’ rankings will be totaled and the top scoring submissions will receive 5 points toward their total score, the next highest scoring submissions will receive 4 points and so on.

SELECTION OF WINNER

Based on the above criteria, a single submission will be selected as the winning innovation and will receive the prize. In case of a tie, the winner will be selected at the discretion of the Judging Panel.

 

Challenge Guidelines are subject to change. Registered competitors will receive notification when changes are made, however, we highly encourage you to visit the Challenge Site often to review updates.

 

 

Schedule

 

Challenge Live

July 3, 2014

Registration Opens

September 1, 2014

Competition Closes/Submissions Due

September 1, 2015

Judging

September 1 - October 9, 2015

Winners Announced

October 21, 2015

 

Teams/Innovators will have an opportunity to check in with the Challenge Team every 3 months via video conference. Details will be announced after registration opens.

 
  • Joey Carlini (moocow1452) Aug. 25, 2014, 11:07 a.m. PDT
    Could you use something like a laser keyboard, modified to focus on music rather than typing? I would like to see something like this in product form. http://www.aziznatour.com/design/contemporary-piano-design/
  • nick Aug. 11, 2014, 11:50 p.m. PDT
    Mam I am working now on the specifics and the details of the design will up soon and it has got to do with position tracking and a specific specialized viewing glass and visuals.
  • Jill Arnow June 5, 2014, 10:25 p.m. PDT
    There are new Draft Challenge Guidelines posted. I'd love your feedback on them. Also, don't forget to follow this challenge to get updates and stay informed about the challenge.
  • Jill Arnow June 3, 2014, 7:59 p.m. PDT
    @Nick Frewin
    Hi Nick! Thanks for showing interest. The solution might use Google Glass or another wearable device. We believe the challenge is in integrating the vision, sound, and touch? What do you think?
  • Nick Frewin June 3, 2014, 6:07 p.m. PDT
    Question: Would this be a smaller, less complicated version of Google Glasses?
  • Jill Arnow May 26, 2014, 1:02 p.m. PDT
    @George Watson
    Hi George Glad you're ready to jump in. We look forward to your submission when the submission requirements and judging criteria are complete and we open the challenge up for submissions. Stay tuned to this page! Can't wait to see your solution.
  • George Watson May 26, 2014, 4:43 a.m. PDT
    I know how to solve this right now. How do I submit my solution on this website?
  • Gina Sparrow May 16, 2014, 1:12 p.m. PDT
    As a piano player myself, one of the hardest things to do is leave a piano behind when you move or travel... playing the piano is not just entertainment, it is expression, healing and an amazing outlet for emotional energy. Playing music evokes inspiration and moves the mind in ways we can only begin to understand! Being able to bring your piano with you wherever you go allows for uninterrupted creativity, healing and expression - IMAGINE the unleashed energy if every just 20% of the population infused the world with more music!
  • Neil Moore May 16, 2014, 12:52 p.m. PDT
    What an honor and privilege it is to be a part of such an extraordinary and exciting project. Solving this challenge will create a new level of access to self-expression for music lovers and learners, music enthusiasts and educators - all over the world. Never before has there been such an opportune time to play a part in bringing about an entirely new era of creativity in the world.