Robot improves your guitar playing by zapping you with a taser when you screw up

With 2018 coming to a close, it’s only natural that our minds start turning to 2019 and all the things that we hope to achieve in it — whether that’s getting fit, picking up a new language, or learning to play a musical instrument which transforms us into the rock star we always knew we should be.

If the last of these three appeals to you the most, you may have a helping hand, courtesy of Ethan David, an Irish physics graduate and electrical engineer with a somewhat warped sense of humor. He has developed a robot that will help you learn to play the guitar better. Unfortunately, it does this by zapping you with a taser whenever the wrong note is played.

“It recognizes what frequency is being played using a microphone and the Fast Fourier Transform in Python,” David told Digital Trends. “That frequency can then be compared to a list of known frequencies for the specific notes in the musical scale. The notes for each song need to be loaded into Python beforehand. Then, as the program runs, it simply listens for the next correct note. If the note is correct, you continue. If the note is incorrect, a signal is sent to the Arduino to trigger the arm and the taser — hence delivering you an electric shock in the hope that it’d teach you to play the correct note next time. [It’s] a bit of good old negative reinforcement.”

taser guitar when you play wrong note img 20181220 162732 251

David acknowledges that the robot isn’t quite perfect, though. No, not because it actively hurts its owner, but rather because it doesn’t totally possess the knowledge of good guitar-playing form necessary to turn you into the next Eddie Van Halen. That’s because it doesn’t have any understanding of rhythm, a crucial part of music. So long as you play the right note, it will keep you shock-free, regardless of whether you pull these off in a timely manner or stretch a 30-second guitar solo out to several hours. He hopes this will change in a future version, however.

“It shouldn’t be too difficult to create a time variable between each note, full beat, half beat, quarter beat, et cetera,” he said. “Then [you could] use a tempo variable that can be set to control the speed at which the song is played at. You could start slowly and get faster every time you get the sequence correct, and go back down if you play a wrong note.”

It’s definitely an innovative project, although we hope David understands if we opt for a slightly friendlier guitar-teaching tool up front. If that fails to teach us, though, we’ll be sure to keep this one in our back pocket!

Gaming

You can buy a Google Stadia controller now, but it won’t grant you access to play

The Google Stadia controller is now available for purchase separate from the Founder's bundle, but that's not all you'll need to play in 2019. Grab it if you want to play with a friend or if you receive one of the Pro buddy passes.
Mobile

Galaxy Fold's screen problems mostly fixed says Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is real, but for how long? Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Home Theater

What is Dolby Atmos Music, and how can you experience it?

Dolby Atmos is a surround sound format that creates immersive, 3D soundtracks to make movies come alive. But the same technology is also being adopted for music creation, and it's a game-changer. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.
Emerging Tech

Hubble captures explosive galaxy, the site of three recent supernovae

Hubble's latest image is of the spiral galaxy NGC 4051 which is notable for having played host to a large number of supernovae: the first seen in 1983 (SN 1983I), the second in 2003 (SN 2003ie), and the most recent in 2010 (SN 2010br).
Emerging Tech

The grainy texture of Saturn’s rings reveals clues to their origins

New analysis of data from Cassini shows that Saturn's rings are not smooth, but rather are grainy in texture. Scientists believe that tiny moons within the rings cause materials to cluster and form clumps and straw-like patterns.
Emerging Tech

The Very Large Telescope gets upgrade to aid its hunt for habitable exoplanets

The Very Large Telescope is growing even bigger. The latest addition to the telescope's suite of instruments is a tool called NEAR (Near Earths in the AlphaCen Region) which will hunt for exoplanets in the nearby Alpha Centauri star…
Emerging Tech

Your smartphone could be the key to predicting natural disasters

A challenge for atmospheric scientists is gathering enough data to understand the complex, planet-wide weather system. Now a scientist has come up with a clever idea to gather more data using smartphones and Internet of Things devices.
Emerging Tech

Tormented robot pulls a gun on its creators in latest Boston Dynamics spoof

Boston Dynamics' remarkable robots often receive a good few shoves in its videos, and the eager mistreatment recently inspired a team of L.A.-based video artists to give its rather amusing take on the matter.
Smart Home

A new survey by Adobe shows an evolving market for voice applications

A new consumer survey conducted by Adobe Analytics has uncovered a growing desire for more diversity in voice-controlled applications and devices as well as growing engagement with voice ads.
Emerging Tech

Live long and prosper? Experimental compound could slow down the aging process

Want to extend your natural lifespan beyond its current limits? A metabolite of biomolecules — found in pomegranates of all places — could help slow the aging process. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Airbus’ new single-aisle jet has longest range in its class and a fancy cabin

Airbus has unveiled the design of its new A321XLR jet, an aircraft that it says will be capable of trips of around 5,400 miles, making it the world's longest range single-aisle airliner when it takes to the skies in 2023.
Computing

Google Calendar is back online. Here’s the latest on the outage

Google Calendar is down, and that means that instead of a day packed with back-to-back meetings and timely reminders, users are instead being treated to an error message. Here's the latest on the worldwide outage.
Emerging Tech

A tiny magnet accomplishes enormous feat, sets a new world record

A magnet housed in the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory has set a record for the strongest continuous DC magnetic field ever recorded. Here's why that matters to our future.