Building a Raspberry Pi-based accessible Smart Guitar
The device, which is based around a Raspberry Pi, is called the Chord Assist, created by Joe Birch, an Android Engineer and Google Developer Expert for Android.
Birch has described it as a means to help mute, deaf and blind people experience the guitar specifically, to help them learn to play chords.
The Chord Assist smart guitar allows people who are blind, deaf or mute to be able to learn, play and tune their guitar. Basically, a way to reduce the friction of learning a new instrument.
The user first requests a chord to learn. This can be presented in Braille, via the GPIO pins, and solenoids and relay switch.
It is also presented visually via a small display, a four 14-segment displays driven by the HT16K33 chip over I2C, which Joe got from Pimoroni.
A vibrating motor serves as a progress indicator, with Joe explaining he took inspiration from pedestrian crossings (they give haptic feedback underneath the box).
The origins of the system were actually an Android Things project called BrailleBox, which Birch created in 2017 — a Braille News Reader for the partially sighted.
Birch has also documented his guitar project on Medium, and you can check out a video of the guitar in action below.