Lots of Pickin', No Grinnin'
It is generally accepted that we have moved past the age
of the lone inventor working in his garage, but an exception
to the rule seems to be Vladimir Demin — a 62-year-old circuit
designer currently residing in Moscow. Using nothing but
hand tools (primarily a drill, as the project required 3,000+
high-tolerance holes), he created an automatic guitar-playing
The device uses a slew of solenoids for picking and
fretting — all controlled via an ADSP2187 CPU. It draws 30A
at 12V, but Vladimir says it can play continuously for two to
four hours without a battery change. Fortunately, Eric Clapton
doesn't need to worry about the competition, but it does do
a pretty amazing job on an old Russian song that must remain
unnamed here as I don't seem to have a Cyrillic font on my machine. You can check out the
video by searching on You Tube for his name. His next project — in case you are wondering —
will be a high-tech accordion player that can perform a duet with the guitar.
Vladimir Demin's automatic guitar.
8 SERVO 11.2013
by Jeff and Jenn Eckert
Since 1943, the famous Skunk Works (a.k.a., Advanced
Development Programs) division of Lockheed Martin
www.lockheedmartin.com) has been responsible for many advanced
(and secretive) aircraft designs, including the U- 2 spy plane, the F-117
Nighthawk, and the F- 35 Lightning II. More recently, the skunks have
been working with Piasecki Aircraft (
www.piasecki.com) to develop
a new autonomous vehicle dubbed the Transformer TX.
The original concept (as described back in the January 2011 issue)
was to build a rotor-driven flying car, but eventually the designers
decided to dump the car portion of it, thereby creating a mechanism
that can lock onto any suitable cargo pod and fly away with it. The
production version — scheduled to take flight by 2015 — will be
powered by ducted fans that can drive it at 200 knots within a
range of 250 miles.
According to the company, the TX's unique design will allow it
to "adapt to multiple missions with interchangeable payloads,
including cargo pods, medical evacuation units, a tactical ground
vehicle, armed scouts, and reconnaissance and strike capabilities."
Lockheed Martin's Transformer TX can turn
virtually anything into a VTOL vehicle.