Embedding An Accelerometer And XBee In A Guitar

[JP Carrascal] hacked his guitar by adding motion control while removing the need for wires. He’s using a dual-Arduino system with an Mini Pro inside the guitar and a Duemilanova for the receiver connected to a computer. Wireless is provided by the XBee module seen above and a gutted Wii remote accelerometer is in there for motion sensing. Check out the artfully blurry demonstration of the motion effects after the break.

While he added some potentiometer-based controls there is also an automatic power-down feature. [JP] replaced the mono pickup with a stereo one and used the extra conductor as a switch to activate the additional electronics. We wonder if he also winds his own pickups or builds his own effects pedals.


19 thoughts on “Embedding An Accelerometer And XBee In A Guitar

  1. 2x arduino = 2x flaming?

    I wonder about the sound quality of that system, since zigbee, if I remember correctly, has a maximum speed of 250 kbps, which is about medium quality compressed mp3. Bluetooth can reach speeds of 24Mbps, which is enough to do extremely high quality audio, or even video. Then again, Wi-Fi 802.11n can reach a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 600Mbps. All of the numbers are the theoretical maximum (except maybe the zigbee), so you can probably expect half or less actual throughput.

    So in summary, I love the idea (have been wanting to do this for a while), but for concert-quality sound, other wireless options would have to be explored.

    On a more random guitar note, anybody think it would be possible/plausible to design a pickup system that would be able to analyze every string simultaneously and convert the note(s) being played to a MIDI output?

  2. @Squirrel: MIDI pickups have been done. Just Google “MIDI pickups” and you’ll see quite a few. Or were you talking about a DIY setup?

    I’ve used an older Roland system, and it tracks fairly well, albeit with a slight lag.

  3. If someone didn’t get it, he doesn’t use arduino to send sound wireless (there is a bloody cable coming out of guitar), just accerelometer data, and he uses that to control effects.

    And guidatr is Mayones Setius Lizard ;]

  4. @nate of course it’d be DIY. This is HackADay after all. Maybe using an xmega (not sure if you could get a fast enough sample rate on 6 inputs simultaneously with this) or an external adc with enough sample rate and enough resolution to successfully capture sound waves (so a refresh rate of ~22kHz, not sure on the resolution) then just measure wavelength and pass on the notes based on the wavelength.

  5. @spyder_21
    You’re right, but that was not intentional. The camera I got had problems with the autofocus. I’ll try to post another video soon.
    Thanks for watching, anyway!


  6. It would be neat to see the star power tilt actually do something visual effects wise, like make the stage backdrop at the pub turn into stars or something. Though, this is cool too.

    @Squirrel they make MIDI guitars but they’re expensive. If you’re just using an instrument to get a MIDI output, unless you have an attachment to the guitar, I would guess that the keyboard is probably the best way to go.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.