Bayer MaterialScience AG says aliphatic polyurethane may help tempt people into learning the cello through innovative design.
Bayer said it plans to exhibit a prototype of the Cello 2.0 at the K 2013 trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany, in October.
The firm, which worked with a number of partners in developing the cello, says PU components are lighter than other materials and can incorporate a number of design features.
The ergonomic shape of the instrument was developed with Teams Design Co.
"There was also the question of how the inherent beauty of string instruments could be enhanced by incorporating innovative functions," says Mélanie Dick, innovation manager at Bayer MaterialScience's Creative Center and head of the project.
Teams Design asked professional and amateur musicians for their input.
"Music students want to be able to tune the instrument using color signals, know whether they are playing the right or wrong notes or even have the beat displayed for them. Professional musicians, on the other hand, dream of special lighting effects or even video presentations during live performances," explains Dick.
The design begins with the neck and fingerboard, which are typical of electric cellos. The belly, which is made of cast PU resin, is then built around it. All the technical components required for sound and visualization are integrated into the neck and fingerboard.
An additional partner, Zonewicz Faserverbundtechnik, worked with the Teams Design production designers to ensure that the sound box is connected harmoniously with the functional body of the cello. Their work included optimizing the vibrational response of the materials so that the instrument produces an attractive sound, Bayer said.
TLD Planungsgruppe, an additional partner specializing in lighting and media design, was also involved. In one potential variant, different LEDs and mini video projectors are installed in the neck and fingerboard. The projector displays graphics or videos on the transparent front surface of the cello. A tuning device or surfaces for video jockeying (VJing) can also be installed in the instrument.
In one alternative solution, LEDS and ultraflat OLED displays could be integrated directly and used to display photos and videos, Bayer said.