A Googly-Eyed Transparent Player Piano That Speaks English and Can Play ‘Rush E’

The incredibly inventive engineer Mark Rober built Chopstix, a self-playing, transparent piano with googly eyes and a digital screen that is able to speak English through a MIDI controller. Fellow YouTuber Buddy Sanderson of 3Blue1Brown explained how Chopstix is able to speak.

The signals from speech can be visualized with a waveform, …If you zoom in on a little window of it you might notice it looks like a rhythmic repeating pattern. As it happens, one of the most delightful facts from math tells us that for pretty much any signal you can express it as a sum of pure sine waves, which, in the context of sounds, correspond to pure pitches. Higher frequency sine waves give you higher pitches.

For the finale, Chopstix performed “Rush E”, an extremely difficult piano instrumental that started out as an internet meme. Once finished, Rober set off a smoke bomb to indicate the effort Chopstix employed.

No Chopstix were hurt in the filming of this video (i.e. he didn’t ACTUALLY catch fire). I took some creative liberty in the form of a smoke bomb :)

Rush E Chopstix Mark Rober