When you think of self-playing instruments, most of us probably remember those old-timey pianos. But hey, as respectable as the piano is, it's nowhere near as cool as a guitar -- especially a guitar that can play itself.
Kevin Lohndorf, Jack Vulcani, Ryan Siebring, and Salim Alfoori, a team of enginering students from Colorado State University, decided to build a programmable device that can autonomously play a bass guitar utilizing a combination of actuators, microchips, logic circuits, sensors, an LCD display, and 3D-printed parts.
The device uses stepper motors, a belt and pulley system, and servo motors to play individual notes on a guitar utilizing an overhead track similar to a desktop printer. There's a spring-loaded plunger, with a ski attached to the bottom to slide and depress the string, on each of the four tracks.
The whole system is Arduino-based and uses a coded sequence to play the desired notes. Anyone with enough programming knowhow can probably get the device to play a variety of sequences...Maybe you don't need a human to play bass in your garage band after all.
See the self-playing guitar in action:
Download the full build instructions -- including a parts list and source code here
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As always, Gadget Freak is brought to you by Allied Electronics and Design News. You can build your own self-playing bass guitar using the parts list below:
[image via Kevin Lohndorf]