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RoboFiddler - A Robotic Violin Player
Keywords: mechatronics, motion control, violin, sound, digital signal processing
(Commenced: 01-Jan-2006,Concluded: 01-Nov-2006)
This honours project was aimed at the design and build of a robotic violin player. 'Robofiddler' plays notes by placing one of a total of 6 mechanical fingers on the fingerboard and then striking the bow across one of the 4 strings. Tunes can be entered on a host computer and downloaded to the microcontroller based robot.
Low-level control is performed by a pair of Freescale 9S12 microcontrollers. The central controller communicates with the host, downloading whichever note needs to be played next. It then relays this information to the fingering controller (implemented using a separate microcontroller), carefully coordinating all required motions (fingering, bowing, lifting/descending and tilting of the main arm, etc.).
Tunes can be played in three different tempi (slow, medium, fast). All control algorithms have been implemented in form of MATLAB/Simulink models. Robofiddler uses a DC motor (bowing), two servo motors (arm movements) and a set of 6 stepper motors (fingering). Suitable acceleration, constant velocity and decelaration profiles are generated from the note to be played.
Future extensions might look into employing a digital signal processor (DSP) to monitor and classify the sound as it is produced: Possible categories might be horrible, pleasing, clean, dirty, too loud, too low volume, etc. Classification could be done using a neural network; a neuro-fuzzy controller could then be used to produce nice, clean sounds.
This project won the prize 'Best Mechatronics Project 2006'.
The RoboFiddler was selected by National ICT Australia (NICTA) to be Australia's representative at the inaugural Artemis Orchestra Competition, which was held as part of the Artemisia Association 2007 Annual Conference in Berlin, winning second place. You can read more about this at The University's Media Release, NICTA's Media Release and also the ARTEMIS Orchestra Contest website.
Other Robotic Violin Players