Crazy J - The Robot Guitarist
Will robots replace guitarists in the future? Crazy J gives us a preview of how machines will soon take control of our favorite instrument.
Mechanical Pick for Hemiplegics
Although not as flashy as ED209 (Robocop's nemesis), it follows the same design philosophy - providing a mechanical guitarist that doesn't need to eat, drink and sleep.
This computer-controlled guitar playing machine is an impressive Mechatronics class project created at Georgia Institute of Technology. The designers had the guitar sit on top of the control module, and mounted mechanical contraptions to the neck and the sound hole area, which mechanically frets and plucks the strings.
Crazy J's three main components mimics an actual guitar player, having a fingering module that serves as its left hand, a plucking module that behaves like a guitar player's right hand, and a control module that serves as the brain.
The plucking mechanism has six mechanical "fingers" with teflon picks, which attack the strings when triggered. The fingering mechanism features 23 fingertips mounted over the first four frets, which means Crazy J is only limited to first position fingerings.
It is still a bit far from fictional robots that walk on two feet, but it can play the guitar quite well. Crazy J has been recorded playing Layla, The First Noel and even parts of Flight of the Bumblebee. It can be programmed via MIDI to play virtually any song arranged to fit its 29 available notes.
Crazy J is not the first robot guitar, and will definitely not be the last one. Let's just hope that Skynet stays dormant so that we can keep our control on these "shred machines". It is easy to imagine a future where customized robot guitarists are offered with optional parts including a selection of beard styles. And yes, relic'ed guitarist replicas will probably be the next hype.
For more of Crazy J, visit Georgia Tech.
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