A low-cost MRI compatible keyboard

Jensen, Martin Snejbjerg and Heggli, Ole Adrian and Mota, Patricia Alves Da and Vuust, Peter

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Neuroimaging is a powerful tool to explore how and why humans engage in music. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has allowed us to identify brain networks and regions implicated in a range of cognitive tasks including music perception and performance. However, MRI-scanners are noisy and cramped, presenting a challenging environment for playing an instrument. Here, we present an MRI-compatible polyphonic keyboard with a materials cost of 850 USD, designed and tested for safe use in 3T (three Tesla) MRI-scanners. We describe design considerations, and prior work in the field. In addition, we provide recommendations for future designs and comment on the possibility of using the keyboard in magnetoencephalography (MEG) systems. Preliminary results indicate a comfortable playing experience with no disturbance of the imaging process.