This is a guitar-picking robot. It’s not a machine that plays a given tune (I think that would be boring) a human still needs to fret the notes. It’s an extended instrument, geared toward human/machine improvisation. You can use picking hand to fret notes, change picking patterns, adjust effects, etc.
The platform, the support for the servomotors, and the picks were made on a Glowforge. The platform supports and the servo-to-lego-axle couplings were 3D printed. The pickup mount and decorative features were milled and cut on a CNC machine.
The guitar was made in Indonesia, which gave it its name “The Barong.” A Barong is a Balinese temple guardian spirit. The pattern is from a piece of stock art–I have not yet had time to draw my own version.
I designed the circuitry, the picking mechanism and other hardware, and wrote the program that turns MIDI notes into picking patterns. The parts were designed in Adobe InDesign (a product I worked on for years)–I have created scripts that convert InDesign paths to gcode for the CNC-machined parts, and scripts that write OpenSCAD programs for the 3D printing parts.
It’s tons of fun to play with! I’ve spent more than forty years learning to be a passable flatpicking guitarist–this gives me a way to explore fingerpicking patterns that I don’t have another forty years to learn.
Finally, I’d like to thank the late Vonda N. McIntyre for her encouragement and support of this project.