robot’ with built-in Skype VoIP phone, webcam, and
software suite ( www.meccano.com). The French robot,
sold under the Erector brand in the US, seems equally
valuable as a source of parts and as a development platform.
At $300, the treaded robot is about the price of a WiFi
webcam without audio capabilities, battery pack, or mobility.
I’m undecided about the viability of the long-awaited
Pleo ( www.pleoworld.com) as a repurposable robotics
platform. Given the hype, I was expecting something with
the capabilities of the discontinued Sony Aibo. However, I
don’t envision squads of autonomous, bucolic Pleos
playing robosoccer. That may change with the efforts of an
innovative modder, however.
One of the more interesting robotics products
featured at the 2008 CES that spans the D3 and
entertainment categories is the Gibson Robot Guitar
( www.Gibson.com). Thanks to robotics and electronics
developed by Tronical ( www.Tronical.com), the guitar
frees the guitarist from the dull and time-consuming task
of retuning the guitar. It’s difficult to rationalize the added
$700 expense for simply keeping six strings in tune, but
where the German Tronical technology shines is in
alternative tuning and intonation adjustments.
Many traditional and modern songs use alternatives to
the standard EBGDAE tuning (i.e., the first or thinnest
string is tuned to E, the next string to B, and so on).
Retuning a guitar to common alternatives such as Dropped
D (DADGBE) or Delta Blues (DGDGBD) takes time. So much
time that performers typically switch guitars between
songs to accommodate alternative tuning. With the Robot
Guitar, alternative tuning is as simple as turning a selector
switch. The six motors in the head and piezo audio
detectors in the bridge adjust individual strings to the
appropriate tension within four seconds.
The other big headache the Tronical technology
addresses is adjusting intonation, which typically involves a
trip to the guitar shop for adjusting the bridge. Instead of
simply pressing a button, correcting intonation involves
manually adjusting the distance between points holding
the strings (the nut at the far end and the bridge at the
near end). While this is a manual operation, the circuitry in
the guitar signals the operator how far to turn the
adjustment screws to achieve proper intonation.
There have been other automatic, motorized tuners on
the market, but the Tronical-Gibson is the first to pull it off
in a clean, fully integrated way. Because the Tronical
components are the same size and actually lighter than
traditional components, the system is available for Fender
Strats and a variety of Gibson guitars. The system can be
quickly installed and removed tracelessly without extra
drilling, holes, or screws.
While the market for all stringed instruments is
threatened by all electronic instruments, the Robot Guitar
is a good example of how robotics can be integrated
seamlessly and almost invisibly into an existing product to
provide enhanced value. I leave you with the challenge of
identifying application areas where the same approach can
be applied to activities of daily living, from driving and
cooking to simply moving from one place to another. SV
Extreme Robot Speed Control!
6 14V - 50V - Dual 80A H-bridges - 150A+ Peak!
6 Adjustable current limiting
6 Temperature limiting
6 Three R/C inputs - serial option
6 Many mixing options - Flipped Bot Input
6 Rugged extruded Aluminum case
6 4. 25" x 3. 23" x 1.1”
$29.99 Scorpion HX Scorpion XL
Scorpion Mini 6 Dual 2.5A (6A pk) H-bridges 6 Dual 13A H-bridge 45A Peak!
6 2.5A (6A pk) H-bridge 6 Plus 12A fwd-only channel 6 5V - 24V
6 5V - 18V 6 5V - 18V 6 2.7“x 1.6” x 0.5”
6 1.25“ x 0.5” x 0.25” 6 1.6“ x 1.6” x 0.5”
6 Closed-loop control of two motors
6 Full PID position/velocity loop
6 Trapezoidal path generator
6 Giant Servo Mode!
6 PIC18F6722 CPU $250
6 C source for routines provided
6 See www.embeddedelectronics.net
H-bridges: Use with Dalf or with your Micro/Stamp
6 Monster power!
6 14-50V 160A!
6 3. 15”x4.5”x1.5”
6 3 wire interface
6 6-28V 25A!
6 2. 25”x2.5”x0.5”
6 3 wire interface
$79 6 current & temp rotection
Phone: 253-843-2504 firstname.lastname@example.org
SERVO 03.2008 7