PianoBot is an autonomous system that takes a sheet music or MIDI sound file input and uses that to play the song using a series of hand-inspired actuators to depress the keys. Additionally, tt has been designed to sit in front of any keyboard. These two design choices make it a robust system that can play any variety of songs available.
Our goals for this project were as follows:
Stretch goals for the project included:
This project was an eight-week undertaking for the Olin College Principles of Engineering (PoE) class in Fall 2014. PoE seeks to teach students to integrate analysis, qualitative design, quantitative optimization, experiments, and simulations to improve their ability to engineer real systems, through a significant project experience designing and building a mechatronic system with nontrivial electrical, mechanical, and software components.
The software system consists of two main parts: reading/sending notes in Python, and Arduino code to actuate the servos and play the notes.
We use an Arduino Mega to interface with 36 servos to play three octaves of keys, via a carefully designed voltage regulator circuit.
We designed and fabricated a customized stand to hold 36 servos and mechanical fingers in place over the centers of the keys.
The materials shown to the right represent all the materials purchased or acquired during the process of creating the final prototype. We used some scrap MDF, hot glue, and other temporary materials for incremental prototypes, which we spent no money on.
We obtained the keyboard we used for testing and demo for free from a peer. We did research and found that we could purchase similar keyboards on eBay for about $30. That amount would increase our money spent to just barely over $250, the budget for this project. We acquired the electrical components for free from the ECE stockroom.
This budget sheet also does not include any communal materials, such as solder or jumper cables. It also does not detail the tools we used, including the laser cutter, 3D printer, band saw, drill press, soldering iron, and various hand tools.
Lindsey is a mechanical engineer who is a boss. She enjoys laser cutting and attaching things with hot glue. One day she dreams to use the PianoBot in space.
Susie is a design engineering student with a passion for engineering education. When she isn't working, you can find her playing music, spending time with friends, and dreaming about getting a puppy.
Anne is an engineering with computing student, passionate about education and curricular design, circus arts, and making the world a better place. Maybe that better world involves piano-playing robots.
Lindsey is an electrical and computer engineering student who loves to make things. In her free time (when she has it), she is doing homework because, let's be honest. Free time is a lie.
Sarah is a robotics engineering student who also happens to be a pianist and a violinist. If she's not engineering things or playing music, you'll probably find her reading sci-fi or fantasy or spending time with friends.