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Piano Discovery System Uses PC to Make Music Lessons Easy and Fun.

CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 5, 1995--Creative Insights Inc. (CI), the first computer toys company, today announced the Piano Discovery System, a keyboard instruction system for the multimedia PC that makes learning to play the piano easy and fun.

Piano Discovery is an interactive hardware and software system. It consists of a 49-note keyboard designed for the desktop. It plugs directly into a PC through the sound card's joystick port. The keyboard interacts with multimedia software that has been designed to be easy enough for anyone age six or above. If you learn to play the Discovery, you will be able to play keyboard instruments like the piano, organ or synthesizer.

The Discovery is based on Miracle Piano technology, which was designed in 1990 for Nintendo cartridge systems. CI has redesigned the hardware and software to take maximum advantage of the technology in today's MPC-II multimedia PC, including the superior audio quality of 16 bit and above sound cards.

"CI is trying to help fulfill the promise that multimedia computing can do more to enrich our lives than just let us play games. The Piano Discovery System is among the very few PC products designed to teach music theory," stated Edward M. Esber Jr., Chairman and CEO.

"By converging technology from computer games, music instruments, and the personal computing businesses, CI has produced a next-generation system that is not just entertaining, but shows that fun can be a powerful music teaching tool," Esber concluded.

Discovery's lightweight, 49-note, velocity-sensitive keyboard needs neither power cord nor internal speakers. There is no on/off switch or volume control. A single cable connects it to the host PC. A "unirail" surrounds the keyboard for stability, and for future enhancements by CI and third parties.

The software instruction system contains 50 multimedia music lessons, each with 30 instructional screens. There are 180 melodies from virtually all music categories. Text instructions are enhanced by the voices of alternating male and female voices. The first lesson teaches Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."

All family members can learn on the same Discovery System, and the program will keep track of each student's progress. Children are graded more easily and receive more encouragement that do adults.

The company estimates that it would take an average student about two years to master the entire lesson program, contained on a single CD-ROM disk. CI believes the Discovery will encourage more people to study music, because it is fun and lowers associated costs considerably. However, it is not intended to replace the human guidance and interaction provided by instructors.

Discovery Island, the system's main software screen, is a kid-friendly, 3-D interface that makes it easy to navigate between six modules that teach and/or entertain; Discovery Schoolhouse, The Bungalow, Discovery Island Arcade, Discovery Island Performance Hall, Discovery Studios, and the Jam Stage. Because lessons can be skipped, or revisited, students can progress at their own time and pace.

From Discovery Island, students can click and access any of six buildings. Learn to play at the Discovery Schoolhouse. At the Bungalow, students practice and learn the songs they were taught in the Discovery Schoolhouse. At the Discovery Island Arcade, games help refine each student's skills. There are scores and running evaluations for each student throughout all these activities.

When ready, the music student gives a "live" performance at the Discovery Island Performance Hall. While a polished performance garners "bravos" from a multimedia audience, lesser endeavors are met with nervous coughs and seat shifting. The Discovery Times newspaper reviews the recital, naming the student and offering constructive and candid commentary.

In the Discovery Studio, students can record up to 16 MIDI tracks. Future CI or third-party songs may be added later. The Jam Stage module is completely new and guarantees every Discovery student can be a pop star. Designed for fun and fantasy, keyboard-programmed "grooves" make it almost impossible not to sound great, while hordes of fans clamor under a multimedia light show.

The system requires an MPC-II multimedia PC or better with at least 12MB of hard drive space. The Piano Discovery System will ship this summer and will be sold through computer stores for a suggested street price of $179.95.

Founded in March 1994, privately financed Creative Insights Inc. is the first computer toys company. The Cupertino based company designs, manufactures and markets interactive PC hardware/software products for learning and fun. Other interactive toys include ScreenToyz, the only PC product that will allow you to safely blow up your computer screen.


Note to Editors: ScreenToyz will be introduced at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Come see us in Booth No. 3534.

ScreenToyz is a trademark of Creative Insights. All other trademarks used herein are recognized as such.

CONTACT: Creative Insights

Sabrina Hall, 408/366-6115


Ketchum Technology

Alissa Bushnell, 415/984-2207
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Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 5, 1995
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