Mechanical Engineering The University of Adelaide Australia

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Robotics Group

School of Mechanical

SA 5005

+61 8 8303 5460
+61 8 8303 4367

Projects by Frank Wornle RoboCup - robotic soccer
Project Picture
Photo of Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard

Photo of Colin H. Love

Colin H. Love

Design and build a self-tuning stringed instrument

Frank Wornle, Andrew Leonard and Colin H. Love

Keywords: self-tuning guitar,

(Commenced: 01-Jan-2004,Concluded: 31-Oct-2004)

Much equipment already exists on the music market, which can accurately measure and display the frequency of a signal (from a stringed instrument). The adjustment of string tension, on most instruments, is a trivial task that can be performed by a simple motor/gears arrangement. The integration of this frequency measuring with string tension adjustment as well as the control required, is something that has not made its way into the marketplace.

The aim of this honours project was to design, construct and optimize a mechatronic system that is capable of correcting string tension to obtain a desired frequency/pitch.

The project consists of several parts, which can be developed relatively independently, and therefore can provide a project of variable complexity. These main parts include:

  • Mechanical system for controlling string tension (servo/motor system and gearing)
  • Electrical system for frequency determination (filters + microcontroller/DSP)
  • Automatic control system for tension correction (microcontroller)

Additional parts that could be developed, given time, resources etc:

  • Automatic string vibration actuator system (electromagnetic feedback circuit)
  • Electrical system for simultaneous, multi-string tuning (filter circuitry + microcontroller)
  • Optimisation of mechanical system of mounting strings to provide the most predictable model for tension adjustment
  • Mechanical system which allows manual adjustment of string tension without disabling servo/motors


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