The Recorders for All team is excited to reveal the latest adaptive recorder prototype! This design features a key cluster on the three lowest holes that is operable with one finger.
Originally, our plan was to create 3D printable files to let each user adapt an instrument. This proved to be challenging. Since we wanted the keys to be completely 3D printed, the springs were built into the plastic as living hinges. Covering holes with these keys required a great deal of force.
Our new plan is to make keys using an injection mold. Since the plastic will be stronger and more durable, we can make the keys slimmer. The final design will also be more affordable. In addition, we switched from the plastic living hinge to metal torsion springs. The action is responsive and mimics the keys on other woodwind instruments.
Unfortunately, an injection molded adaptation cannot be customized. We are striving to create a single layout that will work for as many people as possible. Many of our target users have one unaffected hand and one hand with a limb difference. The current key layout allows any person with one unaffected hand and one partial hand to play the full range of the recorder.
Now we are working to seal the holes reliably. On previous prototypes, we used neoprene foam on contoured keys to cover the holes. This was not effective enough. Our latest idea is to create a flat sealing surface. This concept is used for many other instrument keys. Rather than drilling into the body of the recorder, we are building a short spacer above the hole.
We believe our next prototype will be good enough to get user feedback. We hope to get recorders into the hands of testers soon!