Guitar robots anyone? Take a look at GuitarBot – built as part of the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots (LEMUR) project by Eric Singer, Kevin Larke and David Bianciardi. The aim of the project was to create an electric slide guitar, with all the dynamics capabilities of a human player but with the potential to exceed the physical limitations of any human player. Guitarbot can play for longer and faster than any human and has an unlimited amount of fingers
GuitarBot consists of four independent single-stringed slide guitar units. The slide is controlled by a DC servo motor driving a pulley and belt that moves a sliding bridge. A potentiometer on the opposite (non-driving) pulley feeds back information about position.
The picking mechanism is made from of four guitar picks mounted on a block that rotates on a shaft. The shaft is also belt and pulley driven by a DC servo motor. Pick position feedback is by means of a photosensor reading dark and light patterns on a wheel at the end of the shaft. The makers plan other mechanisms for playing the string include bouncing, bow-like action, rubber and glass wheels, and an EBow.
Finally a "clapper" solenoid is used as a damper on the string and stops vibration. On each unit, a microcontroller with custom electronics and software receives MIDI commands and controls operation of the various components.
The whole thing is a technological marvel and sounds convincing. I would like to see the picking, slide and damping components mounted on a real guitar. It would be a great way to compare the sound of different guitars objectively.
At the other end of the guitar robot scale is baby guitarbot. He doesn't let his lack of hands or fingers hold him back. Have a look at the video below: