High-tech polymer manufacturer Bayer MaterialScience has developed a prototype interactive cello. The instrument's polyurethane body can display videos or graphics, tell you when you’re out of tune, and keep you in time using a flashing metronome beat.

The idea for Cello 2.0 emerged when Bayer MaterialScience asked its design partner, Teams Design Company, to dream up innovative uses for aliphatic polyurethane. The aliphatic polyurethane cast resin in question is lightweight, and easy to mould and customise for short production runs. And the substance is completely transparent, giving the designers freedom to be creative.

The instrument design combines a fairly conventional-looking, electric cello-style neck and fingerboard with a futuristic, sculptural polyurethane body.

Using ideas offered by amateur and professional musicians, Bayer MaterialScience worked with lighting and media designer TLD Planungsgruppe to develop a variety of lighting and display options. Mini projectors and LEDs, which together with a sound box can all be built into the neck and fingerboard, enable users to project videos, photographs and lighting effects across the cello’s body. The polyurethane surface can even flash metronomically to help you keep time. A tuning device can be installed, too, with lights that change colour whenever you play a wrong note.

The prototype will go on display at the plastics trade fair, K 2013, in Düsseldorf, Germany, this October.

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Photos: Teams Design Company