Smart Guitar

* user demo with musician from Peabody Conservatory

Smart Guitar for Training and Therapy

Senior Capstone Project, August 2018 - October 2019

Mechanical Engineering Department, Center for Music & Medicine

SolidWorks, ANSYS, EAGLE, Wood working, Machining, Wire EDM

Problem

One out of every five musicians ends his career because of a chronic injury. Our goal is to develop a smart guitar that can train and enforce healthier playing habits through real-time force feedback to musicians. The instrument can sense 0~30N of force at 72 string-fret intersections and warn musicians when they are overstraining their hands. 

Challenge

To ensure that our prototype functions the way we designed, we conducted static and dynamic loading tests, temperature tests, and finally user studies with professional musicians to ensure the highest playing quality. 

Contributions

I led the design and manufacturing of the custom aluminum fret that correlates the force input to a measurable deflection. The custom fret deflects 0.4mm independently under each of the 6 strings when actuated - a distance imperceptible to musicians but optimal for our proximity sensors.

How does it work?

Every time the user presses on the string, a deflection is created by the custom-designed fret and measured by an array of optical sensors on a PCB that runs the full length of the neck. The signal is processed on an onboard microprocessor and transmitted to an GUI for real-time visualization. With the help from an expert Luthier, the whole system is integrated seamlessly on a Cordoba guitar.

Mechanical Engineer

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