Piano-Playing Robot Arm

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The Piano-Playing Robot Arm, AKA BachBot, is Jonathan Martin's final project for E5. The BachBot, controlled via MatLab, plays single notes of specified pitch and duration on a keyboard.


I got the idea for the BachBot during the Robot Arm lab. I thought that having a robot arm draw with a pencil was cool, but I knew that it could do so much more. I decided to turn the pencil into a "finger" that could press down, allowing it do play a piano. I would replace the pencil holder with another servo that would rotate vertically. Then, to make the "finger" move in an up-and-down motion rather than a circle, I would attach pencil to two rods, one attached to the servo and the other to a free wheel directly below the servo, which would keep the pencil vertical. I would then write a MatLab function that would tell the servo to play a note of certain pitch and duration, by converting the pitch into a location on the keyboard and converting the duration into a pause in between the "finger" lowering and raising.