So what can you do these days to make the humble MP3 player a little more interesting? Surely just about every design variation imaginable has been tried. Well, not quite. Designer Jia Peng has proposed a whole new level of player interaction by including a roll-out, 48-key piano keyboard in his Piano's Silhouette MP3 player concept.

It may be a very niche market, but there have got to be some budding pianists out there who would like the convenience of carrying around a portable piano keyboard that neatly tucks away inside an MP3 player, haven't there? Of course the roll-out soft plastic piano keyboard has been around for a while now, but it's still an entertaining party piece as well as a seriously portable learning aid for a would-be Pete Johnson, Oscar Peterson or Maria Yudina.

Incorporating such a piano into a 4.72 x 1.77 MP3 player not only gives users some ivory-tickling tactile interaction in the privacy of their own earphones, but also allows them to enjoy some inspiration tunes too, and possibly even audio piano lessons. Being a concept piece of course, the designer hasn't gone into much detail about things like storage capacity and supported file formats, but there is a bright LCD screen, controls for playback and track selection, an audio jack at one end and a mini-USB at the other.

Personally, I've always wanted to learn piano, so I'd be interested in giving this a whirl. Its rather large dimensions, however, would make it a touch less portable than, say, an iPod Nano.

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