According to Mr. ‘Steppeler’; he is currently developing an optical sensor bar for pianos, Rhodes, Wurlizer and Hammond organs, that allows the user to midify his piano or vintage instrument for a retail price way below 1000$.
It is new compared to other products in the sense that it actually involves physical modeling of a (grand)piano action, where all physical parameters like material constants and measurements of the action can be set by the user for each key individually.
It also focuses on the midifying solely, so the end user can save the money for a built-in inflexible synthesizer/sampler and thus choose which synthesizer(s) he wants to control over MIDI or USB-MIDI.
Finally this product is reviving a rare feature called polyphonic aftertouch, where the player can change the sound of a voice by depressing the key harder, when the note is triggered already.
This afterpressure data is showed on a small display so the player can use this visualization to train his ability to play with aftertouch.
The progress of his project can be viewed at a blog at http://sebion.wordpress.com describing the process of invention with some demonstration videos. He is now planing to get into the beta test phase to see how actual musicians will go with his product on different instruments.
He plans to fund a part of his business on a crowdfunding platform, but a community has to form around the project to have a chance for such an expensive project.
There is also a need to know what people are willing to pay for such a system, thus there is a poll on the blog where interested users can vote for the price.
Mr. Steppeler told us that he decided to feature his start-up project on our blog as the start-up blog and directory seemed to be a perfect spot to get in touch with investors and future customers/beta testers as well.
He is still at the beginning right now having produced 2 prototypes so far.