Friday, 18 March 2016

Guitar fretlights testing

Exciting times at Nerd Night tonight; after a few evenings of coding fresh firmware and app development in Unity, we managed to get a working demonstration of our guitar fretlights this evening.

In recent evenings, we've been able to select patterns from eeprom and display them across the neck using a rotary encoder and miniature LCD. Then with a bit of hacking, we managed to get the patterns to display in response to some serial/UART commands.

It took a little while to edit the firmware so that as well as displaying patterns we could get the device to change key. But once all these elements were in place, we decided to go for the big one.....

Here's a video showing a dedicated app, playing an mp3.
In the app, we can add "events" to our "timeline". As the events occur, we send messages over bluetooth serial to the device, which responds by changing the LED arrangements.

It's not perfect, but it's good enough to demonstrate that the idea works:

For those who are interested in such things, it's a backing track downloaded off Youtube and turned into an mp3 - some kind of blues backing in A. The first event sets the pentatonic scale to "channel one" (the "background" channel for want of a better term). The second event, shortly after, sets the "root notes" pattern on channel two (the foreground channel).

As the song progresses, listen out for the chord changes.
When the IV chord comes along, the original pentatonic scale, in A, remains on the "background" channel, but the root notes change, to match the chord that's currently playing. When the song returns to the I chord, the root notes change back. Similarly at the V chord, the root notes light up all of the E notes on the neck (in a I-IV-V progression in A, the chords are A, D and E).

Brightness on the LEDs has been turned right down.
And somewhere in the middle of the video, Jake says "fuckboots".
Thanks Jake.