RCDS engineering students designed this stepping piano for Rye Nature Center.

A "Stepping Piano," a STEM-inspired, project designed by Upper School Engineering 1 students in fall of 2016, came to life at Rye Nature Center on October 27.  The student design team of Will Asness '17, Duncan Khosla '17, Ed Abrams ’18, Sam Berger '18, Elysia Pil ’19 applied the Design Thinking approach, from interviewing young children to prototyping, to testing. Their design is based on musical sound note regression analysis, as well as on mechanical engineering and cost analysis.

The students' proposal pitch to Rye Nature Center explained: "In the hope of combining physics, music, and, most importantly, fun, we decided to design a 'stepping piano' to inspire curiosity and cultivate creativity in the kids who go to the Rye Nature Center playground. Our aim was for this instrument to be fun and educational. We arranged a C major scale in ascending order, which would be triggered by steps. No matter how these notes are played, they will always sound musical. We hope to explain and demonstrate to the kids the transfer of energy, as gravitational potential energy is transferred to rotational, kinetic energy, and is then transferred to vibrational energy."

The project was funded and built by Regeneron, a biotechnology company based in Westchester.