Due to a mugging incident, it has been more than 20 years since internationally acclaimed pianist João Carlos Martins has played his beloved instrument with 10 fingers.
But the Brazilian maestro is finally able to play his favorite Bach sonatas once again thanks to innovative “bionic gloves” invented by industrial designer Ubiratan Bizarro.
“When he showed me the gloves, I joked that they were for boxing, not to play the piano,” Martins, 80, said of the unique pair of neoprene gloves, which cost no more than $100 to produce and were made by a 3D printer.
As explained by Reuters, the bionic gloves are equipped with rods that make the fingers spring back up after they depress the keys and allow the pianist to continue playing.
The invention has been a blessing for Martins, who used to perform with leading orchestras in the US and Europe and recorded Bach’s complete keyboards until the injuries, followed by a neurological condition, ended his career.
“To be able to use all ten fingers again more than 20 years later is a miracle for me at the age of 80,” he said.
Bizarro is currently exporting the technology to Europe under the brand name Bionic Extender Gloves and is working to improve the technology so it benefits as many people as possible.