Steingraeber pedal systems for wheelchair users

Options and their advantages

Steingraeber has developed different systems for wheelchair usage, each of which is adapted to individual needs. There are three options with electromagnetic controls – a bicycle helmet with three inclination sensors, a neck bracelet with three Reed switches (ferromagnetic circuit switch) or traditional switches. Magnets are integrated into the pedal system and the motor options are adapted to the piano player. The other solution is an actuator control, that we developed together with Prof. Rupp from the University of Heidelberg. Here a mouth control reacts even more sensitively and enables a large number of intermediate stages.

Steingraeber developed different systems which are adapted to the individual requirements.

1. Electro-magnetic control by solenoids

Magnets are integrated into the pedal system and built into the interior of the upright piano or grand piano. The operation is adapted to the motor capabilities of the piano player, i.e., the switches are suitably integrated.

Examples with up to three functions

(forte pedal, piano-/una-coda-pedal / both simultaneously)

  • “Bernd Schwankl-Pedal” *
    Bicycle helmet with three tilt sensors
  • neck brace with three integrated reed switches
  • neck brace with three integrated traditional switches

The pedal-use at grand pianos is possible without lyre for an easier access with the wheelchair!

Version 1:
„Bernd Schwankl Switch“ three tilt switches

Turn left
Demonstrated function: left pedal

Turn right
Demonstrated function: both pedals

Demonstrated function: no pedal

To nod
Demonstrated function: right pedal

Version 2:
three reed switches

  • integrated into a neckbrace:
  • left = left pedal
  • front = right pedal
  • right = both pedals rechts

Version 3:
three traditional switches

  • fitted to a neckbrace
  • front = right pedal
  • left = left pedal
  • right = both pedals rechts

2. Actuator Control

chewing switch increasing / decreasing effect

This is a more precise system, which we developed in cooperation with the University Clinic Heidelberg, Dr Rupp. Actuators are comparable to magnets, but react more sensible than just “ON/OFF” and allows a variety of intermediate levels. For legal reasons, mouth controls may only be developed by government-approved institutions (CE mark).

For the actuator operation, pianists should work with their own personal caregiver and the professionals of a university(s clinic) specialised in paraplegic aids.
Actuators are narrower and are also more suitable for an external system, which does not require interventions in the instrument but into the construction of a “mobile control unit”.
A prerequisite, however, is that the wheelchair does not collide with the foot area.

The connection is possible via cable or by means of a wireless Bluetooth variant.

The mobile device for an actuator system

(correct position is not shown / it must be towards the pedal)

Example for upright pianos with one function each

Chair back cushion, headrest, blow switch, touch rail in front of keyboard …
effect: on/off.

Two magnets are controlling the two pedals. The control of the right pedal is installed in the cushion the left pedal is controlled by a long switch covering the whole top of the lock rail in front of the keyboard.

Piano without pedals and hidden magnets; lower panel open to permit a closer approach with the wheel chair

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