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Unread 08-28-2009, 02:47 PM
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Team 1986 introduces our Guitar Hero Robot

FRC 1986, Team Titanium, would like to introduce TITAN, our new Guitar Hero Robot.

Anyone who had the chance to see the guitar hero machine at the National Instruments booth in Atlanta this year can understand why we were inspired to build one of our own. We came home from Atlanta thinking somehow, some way, we must have one of those. After a whole summer of experimenting, programming, testing, prototyping, building, and tinkering, we have a GH bot!

The big challenge was to build a bot that could perform the demanding machine vision task, and the high speed mechanical task, for a low cost that we could afford. We could not spend thousands of $$$ on the kind of high-end hardware in a system like NI's. NI uses their robot to showcase their industrial vision system and I/O controller, as well as some nice pneumatics. If we were going to do this, we needed to accomplish it with much less hardware.

Initially we assumed that the frame rate and picture quality of a typical web cam couldn't possibly do the job. And that a typical computer using USB I/O probably wasn't sufficient either. Both assumptions turned out to be wrong. This robot runs in LabView on a Dell laptop, with USB video from an inexpensive web cam, and USB output to a solid state relay board. Our initial experiments with video techniques in LabView were very encouraging, and showed us we could do the note recognition and outputs well enough to proceed further. So we spent some money on the mechanical piece, and after some "finger" prototypes using low-voltage solenoids, we were convinced that a robot could be built within our means. But we had no idea if it could perform well enough to even be interesting. We did some design work, and spent the summer making parts and getting it together.

Several others besides NI have built guitar hero robots (just do a search), mostly college lab projects. But many have taken shortcuts such as intercepting the video signal from the game console, attaching sensors to the TV screen, or outputing electrical signals directly to the guitar. We thought it was important to build a robot that had no advantage over a human opponent. It must watch the TV and play the guitar just like a human would. Rather than clamping the guitar into a frame or fixture, we thought it would be much more fun to build a life size, free-standing figure that held the guitar and played alongside its opponent. The hand mechanisms attach to the guitar, and the guitar hangs freely on the robot. We used PVC pipe to build a body, vacuum hose for arms, and the controlling laptop sits on top as the robot's head. We found a good deal on a LCD TV, and built a stand and camera mount so we have a complete package for demos. In addition to an entertaining promotional demo, we plan to use him for fundraising. For a donation you can play against the robot....after school, at football & basketball games, at the street fair, maybe even at hired gigs for parties, etc. Hopefully he can at least help pay for himself.

Many hours of trial and experimentation got the bot to where it is today. It performs beyond our wildest expectations. It routinely scores in the upper 90's in accuracy on expert level on almost any song, and can beat even the best players. But it can be turned down to lower difficulty levels when desired. We designed it to use the whammy bar and the star power bonus to help it be competative. It can be beaten....there are some songs it is not quite as good at. But at the typical demo playing with the public, it will seem virtually unbeatable to most folks.

So here is a youtube video peek....we are excited to share it with the FIRST community!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLQhX0nZV6I


Team Titanium 1986
Lee’s Summit West High School
Lee’s Summit, MO
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Unread 08-28-2009, 03:13 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

I just recently saw the NI demo from under my rock and thought it would be a cool project to raise the team's skill level in a variety of ways. Your video, however, is WAY cooler than it was in my head. Kudos for an awesome demonstration piece. I am inspired.
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Unread 08-28-2009, 03:21 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

That is beyond words.

Insanely impressive is all I can say.
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Unread 08-28-2009, 04:06 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
That is beyond words.

Insanely impressive is all I can say.
Agreed!
An off-season project that can help pay for itself.
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Unread 08-28-2009, 04:20 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

. . . wow . . .
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Unread 08-28-2009, 04:43 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

...omg
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Unread 08-28-2009, 05:37 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

That is simply amazing! And a great off-season challenge as well!

I have one question. Can it start starpower mode?

EDIT: Never mind. Just saw it do that.

Last edited by Rion Atkinson : 08-28-2009 at 07:31 PM.
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Unread 08-28-2009, 05:56 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

Now I understand why our comp sci guys wanted to ditch the game this year and make something like this... Awesome.
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Unread 08-28-2009, 07:17 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

Awesome. Next challenge.... Mario Kart
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Unread 08-28-2009, 07:19 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

What normal human can comfortably hold and play a guitar with all five fingers from the left hand on the front of the guitar?
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Unread 08-28-2009, 08:31 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

Absolutely fantastic, and very impressive.

OK, now what WE all want to know....how'd you do it, exactly? Details!!
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Unread 08-28-2009, 08:35 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
That is beyond words.

Insanely impressive is all I can say.
Seconded, You guys always seem to build great stuff, but this is just stunning.

Keep up the good work! Hope you use this to help grab a second Chairman's!
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Unread 08-28-2009, 08:37 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

this is a tangential issue.

I like the way the video was shot. What kinda of camera ? what was the 'workflow' ? what video editing software ?

Ed
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Unread 08-28-2009, 08:39 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Rotolo View Post
Absolutely fantastic, and very impressive.

OK, now what WE all want to know....how'd you do it, exactly? Details!!
Maybe we will savor it for awhile before we give out too many trade secrets.
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Unread 08-28-2009, 08:43 PM
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Re: Team 1986 introduces our new Guitar Hero Robot

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Originally Posted by ebarker View Post
this is a tangential issue.

I like the way the video was shot. What kinda of camera ? what was the 'workflow' ? what video editing software ?

Ed
Just a simple Sony hard drive camcorder, and some editing with Windows Movie Maker. No workflow, just winged it.
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