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The ArduGuitar EN

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    This is Bob and he will talk about ArduinoGuitar
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    It is his project and it's about a guitar
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    that has no other controls than its strings.
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    And I think it's a quite interesting project.
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    Thank you.
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    Thank you.
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    Can everyone hear me.
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    So, I will talk about the project itself
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    and everything that came before the project
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    because I didn't know much about any of this stuff
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    when I started playing with it, so I will tell you a little bit
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    about myself and how this whole thing happened.
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    There's a lot of things that I might mention, that you might not know about, but you can use Google, right.
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    Everyone can use Google.
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    Alright, so, there's two things that you might wanna know about me.
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    There are two things that are really characterize me.
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    I have a lot of dreams. I spend a lot of time just sitting around and dreaming.
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    And I used to have very little money all my life, you know.
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    Practically no money.
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    So with dreams and no money you learn to scrounge. You really, you learn to scrounge.
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    And when you find something you learn to fix it.
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    And when you fixed it you don't want it to break anymore. You got attached to things you got.
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    That's me. You develop an ability to fix anything, which I think I have today.
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    Practically anything if I really want. But on the other hand once I fixed it I get attached to it and I don't wanna it to break.
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    So this fear of losing it.
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    You know, poverty, dreams and stuff becomes sort of a mixed blessing when you have this.
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    You have stuff and then you're afraid to lose it. A song says
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    'When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose'
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    But it's not really true. It's when you got nothing you can not afford to lose anything.
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    That's really how I looked,lived most of my life.
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    And there's another aspect that I'm very tenacious.
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    So I have this sort of never give up attitude.
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    That's also a mixed blessing in a lot of ways.
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    And one last thing about me.
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    I usually like stuff that nobody else likes.
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    I mean, I'm the only one who buys the one little thing in the shop that has been there on the shelf
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    for hundred years and nobody wants it because they don't know what it's for.
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    Because they just don't like it.
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    So, this whole project started. Does this work. I guess not. How do you change slides.
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    There we go. Electric guitar.
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    So this whole project started. I was as a kid I always been a hippie. I'm still a hippie.
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    Living in the sixties and all that. Play electric guitar, want to play the guitar,
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    couldn't play the electric guitar, couldn't afford an electric guitar.
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    Get a lot of junk electric guitars, have to fix them.
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    Don't know how to fix them. Anyways, I had this idea about electric guitars.
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    And so first what is an electric guitar really.
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    It's got these things in the middle here. This is one of my guitars.
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    It's a guitar that propably no one's every seen before.
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    There's only two of them in Belgium.
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    It's made in Canada.
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    This one has two, they call them 'pickups'
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    That's where it captures the vibrations of the strings to turn it into an electrical signal.
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    And then here you have a switch which basically which roots the signal from the pickups to the volume and tone controls
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    which are here on this guitar. This has one volume and one tone.
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    And then it all goes out through the jack to the amplifier.
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    It's pretty simple. I mean it seems pretty simple.
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    Although it took me a long time to understand.
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    So that's what a guitar is.
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    Now here is what I know about electronics.
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    That's it.
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    You're laughing. You're laughing, but I didn't find it very funny.
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    I spent a lot of time, even that, it seems so simple and it is simple, but it took me a long time to understand things like
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    a voltage divider. What is this?
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    I'm still not sure if I really understand.
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    Anyways, so that was way I was for like thirty years of my life.
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    I had guitars.
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    They never worked. And I got a job, a real job, a serious job.
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    And I had some money.
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    And so I decided to learn to play the guitar at last. I'm an old man now.
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    Old hippie.
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    So I got a serious guitar. And a serious guitar requires serious adjustment.
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    You know I can fix anything.
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    Things that break. Things that are expensive. You don't wanna just tweak with.
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    So I brought it to a luthier, a guitar shop.
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    Luthier is a fancy word for guitar maker.
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    And these guys adjusted the guitar and I learned a lot from these guys about guitars,
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    about technology. And I learned that basically everybody wants the same thing that Jimmy Hendrix played
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    That's all there is. The whole music industry is based on Jimmy Hendrix played a left handed stratocaster
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    Not everybody is left-handed, but everybody wants a stratocaster.
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    So, that's it.
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    That's the number one selling guitar.
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    And that's it. The technology hasn't changed. 1950s. They invented all the stuff
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    and it hasn't changed. And nobody wants it to change
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    because everybody wants to be Jimmy Hendrix.
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    And the mechanical potentiometer and the capacitor and a little mechanical switch. That's it.
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    That was from the 1950s and it hasn't changed.
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    And even now a guitar is in five figure-prices, I'm saying a twenty thousand or a thirty thousand
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    dollar guitar. It's still the same guts inside. Nothing special.
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    Ok, maybe the pickups are little bit more sophisticated. Maybe the wiring is really poorly put together.
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    There are twenty thousand dollar guitars that looks like they were soldered by a child.
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    And I've seen it. I wouldn't believe it because on one point I was thinking about buying one of those
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    at a special price but when I saw the guts I was like 'Forget it, forget it!'.
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    So, you know the 60s. I love the 60s, because of hippies and because of peace and love
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    and all that kind of stuff. It was great and I, for long time I regret it, but then came along Internet
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    and the 21st century and I found the 21st century is not too bad either.
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    And in fact it's really cool, especially the long tail. Living on the long tail is a cool place to live.
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    And everybody here, we are all on the long tail whether we know it or not.
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    So, talking to these guys and I started thinking why has the guitar has to be so old fashioned.
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    Why can't it be in 21st century, you know.
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    Why does it have to have these mechanical things and you know there is all kinds of stuff.
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    For example the guitar I showed you. It does some cool stuff. It's not just an ordinary guitar.
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    It does some pretty cool stuff.
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    So, basically you have you know the two pickups you have either one or the other or both.
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    So, both in parallel, both in series. Series is already an advance, I mean this only something that became
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    imagined later, much later.
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    But this guitar has all of that. And those are very, very sophisticated pickups, which were only invented I guess
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    ten, twelve years ago.
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    They are very sophisticated. It's a very sophisticated guitar.
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    But it offers both the neck, the bridge, the neck is the top one, the bridge is the bottom one,
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    so you can have the neck, you can have the bridge, you can have the neck and the bridge is series
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    the neck and bridge in parallel. So that's already pretty sophisticated for a musician.
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    It's already incomprehensible for most musicians.
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    My guitar teacher when I tell him he says 'What do you mean, what are you talking about?'
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    See, well, I was just saying 'Jazz and Rock' - 'Oh, I get it, I get it...'
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    So, but even that, so what does that mean? That means, you have this little switch has four positions.
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    There is one for each thing. And if you want to start turning things on, turning things off.
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    Everything you need the mechanical switch and you want to have individual tone controls, individual volume controls.
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    Everything means more mechanical stuff. And pretty soon you have your guitar just covered with buttons.
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    And nobody knows how it works. Even yourself. Even if you built it yourself.
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    You still can't rememeber which button to push to get this sound. It becomes just a mess.
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    So, I thought, my vision was lets get rid of all this electromechanical crap and put a screen on it or
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    make it have a curcuit in there and have it a screen where you can have it synthetic and you can do all kinds of stuff.
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    So, why not, why can't that be.
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    So that was my vision. It was to have some kind of curcuit on an Android phone an Bluetooth and in there
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    In there could some kind of thing, I don't know what, an Adruino it turned out to be.
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    That was my idea and it seemed easy enough. Modern technology and and all that stuff.
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    [Vehicles, IR], it's good enough.
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    And why didn't it already exist? Well, I have a lot of friends or friends of friends in the music industry.
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    And they all came up with the same answers.
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    They is two reasons. First of all it's just unbelievably complicated. You need a team of engineers.
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    Hundreds of years of development and it's just really complicated. And this was from professionals, from
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    engineers in the music industry. This is not just from musicians.
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    And then the other thing was just nobody wants it. It's just ridiculous.
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    Everybody wants to have a knob and a switch. That's what musicians want. That's it.
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    That's all there is. So just don't waste your time.
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    I didn't really waste a lot of my time, but I kept thinking about it.
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    And since I didn't know anything about electronics it was kind of a handicap.
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    You know, what to do about this and how to make progress. So this idea just bang around in my head for a while.
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    And then nothing happened. And then I used to go to a lot of TED conf, I still do go to TED conferences in Brussels,
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    I live in Brussels and they got the TEDx there.
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    And you get a lot of inspirational guys talking and I went to one of these.
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    I had a good time with that and I was thinking, you know, is it really impossible to make this?
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    Or is it just people are scared of it? Let me think about Marshall McLuhan.
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    Does anybody know here who Marshall McLuhan is? One person? That's it? Two? Three? Four? Five?
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    Marshall McLuhan was a great thinker, he thought about mass media in the early 50s/60s and he
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    predicted Internet in 1962. He predicted the arrival of Internet will be a great thing.
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    He said 'In this new age the human kind will move from individualism and fragmentation to a collective
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    identity. A global village.' So invented the phrase 'global village'.
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    But he wasn't thinking about computers. He was thinking about the electrical network that ran
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    throughout the world. He tought that was going to bring the entire planet together like electricity and the net, the electrical net.
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    He was a cool guy. And he also thought about a lot of cool things like why inovation is so hard?
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    And he said this second part, which is really [a proporto] to my project and probably to a lot of
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    things people do here is that
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    Whenever you look at something new all you references are in the past, so look at something new you just think
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    'Well, is it like this or is it like that?'
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    So, a Mac is like Windows, right?
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    Macintosh is like Windows?
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    Everything is referring to the immediate past so that makes it hard to understand something that is
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    radically new. And it puts people off in general from things that are radically new.
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    So, I was thinking all this people have told me that nobody wants this stuff and it's impossible to do.
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    Is that just fear and misunderstanding or is there more to it?
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    But I had no way of knowing what that meant what was going to happen.
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    I always think of this story, the Henry Ford story. Which is, he was interviewed.
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    I don't think this has acutally happened, but he was interviewed and was asked
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    'How did you know people would like your car? Did you go and ask them before? Use your survey?'
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    And he said 'If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.' And, you know,
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    he wasn't interested in making faster horses.
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    So, all this things were going on in my mind and then I went to last years TEDx in Brussels and Mitch Altman was speaking there.
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    Is Mitch by any chance in the room? No, well, he was there and he gave a very inspiring speach about
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    hackerspaces and all that kind of stuff.
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    So, I nearly jumped on him because he's an electronics guy and I said 'Here's my project.'
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    'What do you think?' - 'Of course, of course, it's so easy. Of course, you could do it. It's a great idea.'
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    'Go and do it!'
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    That was enough, one guy. Never seen before in my life, convinced me that I should do it.
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    Fine. All these experts told me 'Forget it, forget it, forget it.'
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    And so, it's a shame he's not in the room, but he gets a slide.
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    So that's you know, he hook me. He said contact the hackerspace community.
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    I didn't even know there was one in Brussels. I mean, 'Brussels'.
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    Anyway, there's a huge hackerspace community in Belgium and Brussels and I was amazed about this.
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    So that's the meta part of the project. Thank you.
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    Now we can talk about the technology and the stuff which is maybe interesting maybe not.
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    So, that's a potentiometer, right?
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    Most people know what it is. You got the thing you turn and it moves the wiper, the 'W' up or down.
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    And means that means, that one resistance gets bigger and one get smaller, right?
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    It's really simple. So, then we are having an analogue signal, a sinusoid, coming from the pickups.
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    The question was how could you make that controllable digitally, somehow.
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    I thought about putting servos, motors all kind of stupid things. I had lot of stupid ideas.
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    But I put this out on a hackerspace mailing list and people had all kinds of answers,
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    but it all seemed to be like they were, it wasn't criticism, but they didn't know what I wanted.
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    And I felt like there was real some kind of, you know, did you see 'Cool Hand Luke'?
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    'What we got here is failure to communicate.' And then they whack him over the head. Great movie.
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    Paul Newmans masterpiece.
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    Anyway, it was a failure to communicate and that is something I learnt a lot in this project.
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    You ask questions and they make perfect sense to you, but nobody else can understand what you are
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    talking about. You ask a question in a forum, you say 'I got this thing and this thing.'
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    And people don't answer or they ask you with crazy things. And you realize, that they don't understand.
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    And they did not understand.
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    So, finally though after a lot of questions being tenacious, you remember tenacity, we got to an
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    answer by Johannes Tallman who's a brilliant scientist. Is he not here either?
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    Well, he's in the [?] space. And he just said 'Why don't you do it with a LED LDR?'
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    I didn't know if that was a word or if that was acronyms. I said 'Ok, great. Tell me more about was that is.'
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    So, actually a LED LDR is really a LED, a light, and a light depended resistor.
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    So you have something that shines light and then you have something that changes resistance when you shine light on it.
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    And you put those two together and that makes a digitally controllable resistance.
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    Because you can shine light more or less. You can pulse it with PWM. So now you have a
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    digitally controllable resistance. And if you put two of them together like in a picture you get something very
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    similar to a potentiometer. And all you have to do is manage the current. And in the mean time I've been
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    playing with, I got get inside with Arduino, I saw Banzi on TED and I got the book and I bought an Arduino
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    and I could make the lights blink and it was great, everything was great. All the problems were solved.
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    It seems so simple. Cause like. 'What's wrong with you people? This is so easy. This is so unbelivably easy.'
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    So, I started doing it, but somebody on the mailing list said 'You know', I quote this
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    'You certainly worked to some extend and even if the result is to noisy or bad quality to be used in music
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    it will still be huge fun to make.' And I thought to myself 'What? Noisy? Where is noise coming from?'
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    'How can? Vehicles IR! Where is noise in that equation? I don't get it.'
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    But that was kind of staying in the back of my mind, you know, who cares?
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    Went on. By the way, LED LDR is, actually in the industry they're called 'Vactrols'.
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    There is actual a component, that has the whole thing build in one and they are made by different companys.
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    The best company is Perkin Elmer. If you buy them just put my name in the [?] I get them on my commission, ok.
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    So, that was easy. So now I had the fundamental problems solved and I just had to learn how to do it,
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    I read 'Making things talk' by Tom Igoe, later corresponded with and found out he didn't test
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    all the code in his book. So here it is. So the idea was really you have a guitar, an Arduino in there,
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    a bunch of vactrols and then you have some kind of Bluetooth and some kind of device, a computer or
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    Android. I've never seen an Android phone in my life at the time, but I figured that would do it and it will be really easy.
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    Yeah and it was. So here is the really geeky part. This the schematic. I only made it because the person
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    revising my presentation here told me to make it more technical because this is a technical conference.
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    Alright, so here is the technical stuff. You wanted it, you get it.
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    In the upper left, there, you can barely see it, but there is three, I put three pickups, this guitar has
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    three pickups and you see there is one sort of double pickup, which is exactly what it is.
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    So this three pickups. They come in.
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    So the top one goes in and you have the red wire goes to a vectoral(?), which is just an on and off vectoral(?).
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    It's got no variable resistance just shine all maximum light and it let's maximum electricity through.
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    It's not perfect. The vectors(?) I use have about 80 Ohm resistance when they are full on.
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    But you can do a little better than that. I didn't buy the right vectors. I couldn't understand the datasheets.
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    It's so complicated. Why don't they just say what I want?
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    Anyways.. So there you have it. Each of the pickups goes into a vector(?) Those top four
Title:
The ArduGuitar EN
Description:

The ArduGuitar EN

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Video Language:
English
Duration:
30:06

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