$2,133
pledged of $230,000pledged of $230,000 goal
24
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jun 22 2014
Kevin KrumwiedeBy Kevin Krumwiede
First created
Kevin KrumwiedeBy Kevin Krumwiede
First created
$2,133
pledged of $230,000pledged of $230,000 goal
24
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jun 22 2014

About

RoboTar is for Anyone who wants to play guitar but cannot.

  • Fact - Playing guitar is fun!
  • Fact - Everyone sings their favorite songs but few people can accompany themselves... so they are left to sing with the radio in their cars (ok, we can't prove that).
  • Fact - There are over 1 million guitars sold annually in the US...most are sold to hopeful learners but most guitars end up under beds or in closets (we can't prove that either but it seems reasonable).  
  • According to Music Trades statistics, only 5-10% of new learners are still playing regularly after 5 years.  
  • The demand to learn guitar is massive, but the reality is that very few can dedicate the required time to play effectively.  

But really, WHY let a Robot Play guitar?   

  • Fact - Sorry... Some seasoned guitarists might be upset that we're giving people a way to "cheat"... but the main reason we created RoboTar goes much deeper.  We agree... if you want to learn how to play guitar....  then LEARN.  But if you simply don't have the time to dedicate to becoming a proficient guitar player, we KNOW there is still fun in playing most of the guitar.
  • ROBOTAR PUTS THE FUN BACK IN.... IT DOESN'T TAKE IT OUT.
  • But here is the real reason RoboTar exists.  Our primariy motivation for RoboTar is to let people play that cannot.  A few more facts:
  • There are nearly 795K people who suffer stroke each year in the US.
  • There are over 100K people in the US living with the loss of an upper limb.
  • Nearly 7% of people over the age of 26 suffer from hand Osteoarthritis and increases to over 8% for those over 60.

What is RoboTar?

The best way to understand is to see videos of other people playing:  Here are some demos at the Maker Faire we just participated in last month.  We always have a lot of fun demoing.  

Some may still need a little explanation, so here it goes: 

  RoboTar is a robotic chord hand that allows anyone to play guitar simply by strumming or fingerpicking and changing chords with a foot pedal.  RoboTar sits on the first four frets of a guitar.  The most common question we get asked is "Can it slide up the neck"?   The answer is, it doesn't need to.  RoboTar can actuate chords in the 2 and a half octaves of notes in those frets and create any chord in any key without the limitation of human fingers.

The best way to understand RoboTar is to watch our project video or try it.  We had some amazing demos at the Maker Faire and the Solid 2014 conference in San Francisco.  Unfortunately, we can't demo to everyone yet, so Click on our video above to see RoboTar in action and hear our story. 

RoboTar attached to an Acoustic Guitar and Software running on a Laptop.
RoboTar attached to an Acoustic Guitar and Software running on a Laptop.

Inspiration...

   RoboTar was inspired by my father who, after a lifetime passion of playing guitar, lost the ability to play due to a debilitating stroke.  I created RoboTar to give my father, and those like him that lost the use of one hand or arm for any reason, the ability to play guitar again.  

For Everyone That Wants to Play Guitar...

Play guitar with limited or no use of one hand or arm.  RoboTar is available for right or left handed strumming.
Play guitar with limited or no use of one hand or arm. RoboTar is available for right or left handed strumming.

Who is RoboTar for??  The answer is anyone...While RoboTar was inspired by someone who lost the ability to play with both hands, many additional applications have emerged including:

Music Teachers and new learners can use RoboTar for instant enjoyment as a stepping stone to playing without assistance.
Music Teachers and new learners can use RoboTar for instant enjoyment as a stepping stone to playing without assistance.
  • Music teachers and new learners can use RoboTar to learn strumming and picking independent from chord formation providing early gratification and therefore continued motivation.  
  • Music therapists and physical therapists might use RoboTar to give their patients a new outlet 
Singer Songwriters can use RoboTar to experiment with chord voicings and melodies or practice lead guitar while letting RoboTar play rhythm for you!
Singer Songwriters can use RoboTar to experiment with chord voicings and melodies or practice lead guitar while letting RoboTar play rhythm for you!
  • Seasoned guitarists and composers can use RoboTar in the same way a piano is used by using RoboTar to drive chords while the player experiments and develops melodies further up the neck in real time.  
Maybe you are a singer that would like to accompany yourself, but are discouraged by the long learning curve for forming chords in tempo on a guitar.
Maybe you are a singer that would like to accompany yourself, but are discouraged by the long learning curve for forming chords in tempo on a guitar.
  • Children can learn to play without the pain of forming chords with delicate fingers.

How does it work?

   RoboTar attaches temporarily to the neck of any standard guitar.  It communicates to software running on a PC or a handheld android device and can be used with Bluetooth or USB. The software allows you to use default chords or build your own custom chords or single notes... even chords the human hand can't create.    

Just some of the chord examples RoboTar can create.  You can actuate any chord on the first 4 frets of the guitar, also known as the "open position"  This gives you the flexibility of creating and playing any chord in any key.
Just some of the chord examples RoboTar can create. You can actuate any chord on the first 4 frets of the guitar, also known as the "open position" This gives you the flexibility of creating and playing any chord in any key.

You can then create songs including lyrics and chords in the sequence required.  When you play the song, you control the chords at your own tempo by pressing a foot pedal to actuate the next chord in the sequence.  A foot pedal is the default way of cycling through the chords of a song but an alternative option is to use the button on an Android phone over Bluetooth to actuate the chords.   The PC Player and Chord/Song editing function and Android player that lets one play without a laptop or PC are flexible, feature rich and ready for use.

Use a PC to create chords and songs... but use an Android Phone or Tablet to play songs via bluetooth (Full wireless is possible with a separate purchase of battery packs and a wireless foot switch if you still want to use a foot pedal)
Use a PC to create chords and songs... but use an Android Phone or Tablet to play songs via bluetooth (Full wireless is possible with a separate purchase of battery packs and a wireless foot switch if you still want to use a foot pedal)

See more RoboTar in Action...

How will we use the campaign money?

   Because we have made so much progress on the prototype version and software, we will use the money from the campaign to fund the first production run of the current version to deliver your rewards.   

Manufacturing Vendors and Process

     The prototype hardware and software is fully functional and we already have the device in the hands of users.  For production manufacturing, we have a suppliers, costs and lead times for volume production from XCentric Mold for injection molded parts, from Hitec for the actuators, from Rush PCB for the main circuit board PCB and assembly, from K&S for RoboTar's fingers and from FastFasteners for required hardware.   We plan to keep part sourcing and assembly local in our workshop to ensure appropriate control for the first phases of RoboTar but have also started discussions and tours of Assembly factories in the San Francisco Bay area in the event volume exceeds the capacity of our current facility.  We fully expect to be able to handle the 300 units locally before needing to expand.  We will assess the setup and lead-time required for external assembly but will commit to delivering the first 300 units with the fastest method depending on that assessment.  We will keep everyone posted and will listen to your feedback.

Risks and challenges

Functional Risks:
Most of our functional risks have already been addressed through testing, software enhancements and some hardware upgrades such as more robust actuators with burn out protection and a servo calibration enhancement that enables each user to calibrate RoboTar to their own guitar. We will continue to improve the software through supporter feedback, but it is ready to go!

Manufacturing Risks:
Other risks are typical for hardware development including unknown limitations to manufacturing processes, unforeseen design for manufacturing issues and possible production quality issues and parts availability and electronics certification. We are hedging these risks through the pre-work we have already done, through working with US based suppliers and manufacturers and providing ample lead time to accommodate the manufacturing process. Therefore we request patience from our supporters. We are dedicated to deliver and understand the complexities of hardware manufacturing and want to set reasonable expectations for timing.

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Support

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    SUPPORTER AND WATCHER - Recognition on our website as a supporter of the Blue Ahuizote RoboTar and email updates regarding availability of the product for general release.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    GUITAR PICKS - Guitar picks with the Blue Ahuizote Logo (pack of 5 picks). Includes all rewards at lower levels.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    COMPILATION - A compilation of original songs artists using the RoboTar to create their music. You'll be listed as a Bronze contributor on our website. Songs will be sent to you electronically after all orders have been fulfilled and we create the compilation from RoboTar owners. Includes all rewards at lower levels.

    As a Bronze Kickstarter Supporter, you will be given priority for future versions, updates, enhancements and accessories.

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    Pledge $39 or more About $39

    PICKS and TSHIRT - Your choice of CD or USB compilation of original songs artists using the RoboTar to create their music AND a RoboTar Logo Tshirt. You'll be listed as a Bronze contributor on our website. Includes all rewards at lower levels. Partial delivery asap (TShirts and Picks) and partial later (We will target completion of the compilation by March 2015) As a Bronze Kickstarter Supporter, you will be given priority above the general public for future versions, updates, enhancements and accessories.

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    PICKS, COMPILATION AND TSHIRT - Your choice of CD or USB compilation of original songs artists using the RoboTar to create their music AND a RoboTar Logo Tshirt. You'll be listed as a Bronze contributor on our website. Includes all rewards at lower levels. Partial delivery asap (TShirts and Picks) and partial later (We will target completion of the compilation by March 2015)

    As a Bronze Kickstarter Supporter, you will be given priority above the general public for future versions, updates, enhancements and accessories.

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    MAKER KIT AND INSTRUCTIONS - Main Laser cut acrylic base platform, Assembled LED PCB and Software. Includes Parts list, documentation and software. This is for ambitions DIY'ers to create the unit themselves or use for other projects with similar function. You can even use the chords software to create movement sequences on up to 16 servos that you control with a pedal or an input of your choice. Even write your own software to automate the sequences. Please note you should only plan to do this if you are comfortable with electronics, microcontrollers, soldering, some small scale mechanical and fabrication work. You will also need to purchase the 3d printed parts separately from Shapeways (~$400 with shell, $250 without) and the Servos and some of the electronics can be purchased off the shelf. Leaving out the shell lets you make your own shell or with some minor wire management it will work fine "naked". You can also purchase lower end servos (at around $5 a piece vs. $17.99 each for RoboTar's production servos) that work fine on the prototypes but may burn out sooner. You'll be listed as a Silver contributor on our website. You'll also have a chance to earn a spot on the Blue Ahuizote music compilation. RoboTar is patent pending, but open source. If you have an interesting project, we may even want to partner with you on it.

    You will be listed as a Silver Supporter of RoboTar on our site. As a Silver Kickstarter Supporter, you will be given priority above the public and bronze supporters for future versions, updates, enhancements and accessories.

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    Pledge $319 or more About $319

    PROTOTYPE ENTRY LEVEL ROBOTAR - Own the 3d Printed, hand assembled prototype version. The prototype is a fully functional RoboTar and includes a RoboTar, Clamp, USB cable, power cable, foot pedal, low end analog micro servos and software. Includes TShirt, guitar picks and a slot on our Blue Ahuizote music compilation to be distributed to all qualified backers. You will be listed as a Gold Supporter of RoboTar on our site. As a Gold Kickstarter Supporter, you will be given priority above the Silver supporters for future versions, updates, enhancements and accessories.

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    Pledge $745 or more About $745

    PRODUCTION ROBOTAR - 2nd Priority production run of RoboTar! Includes a RoboTar device that has programmable digital servos with overload protection, injection molded parts, high gloss finish, clamp, USB connection and extension, power cable, and foot pedal switch. It will take a little longer to get than a hand built prototype, but you'll get it at a price lower than target retail expected to be around $830. Gold level contribution status on our website and Facebook Page. Includes all rewards for level 4 and a slot on our Blue Ahuizote music compilation if you want it to be distributed to all qualified backers.

    You will be listed as a Gold Supporter of RoboTar on our site. As a Gold Kickstarter Supporter, you will be given priority above the Silver supporters for future versions, updates, enhancements and accessories.

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    Pledge $795 or more About $795

    1st PRIORITY PRODUCTION ROBOTAR - First Priority early bird production run of RoboTar! It will take a little longer to get than a hand built prototype, but you can't beat the price (lower than target retail expected to be above $845). Gold level contribution status on our website. Includes all rewards at lower levels (except 1st run priority) and a slot on our Blue Ahuizote music compilation to be distributed to all qualified backers.

    You will be listed as a Gold Supporter of RoboTar on our site. As a Gold Kickstarter Supporter, you will be given priority above the Silver supporters for future versions, updates, enhancements and accessories.

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    Pledge $845 or more About $845

    2nd PRIORITY PRODUCTION ROBOTAR WITH WIRELESS PACKAGE - Second Priority early bird production run of RoboTar with a wireless package including 2 battery packs and chargers, wireless foot pedal and bluetooth dongle! Includes all rewards at lower levels (except 1st run priority) and a slot on our Blue Ahuizote music compilation to be distributed to all qualified backers.

    You will be listed as a Platinum Supporter of RoboTar on our site. As a Platinum Kickstarter Supporter, you will be given priority above the Gold supporters for future versions, updates, enhancements and accessories.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    BE A 1st OWNER (FULLY FUNCTIONAL PROTOTYPE AND PRODUCTION RUN!) - 1st a RoboTar owner! Own a prototype ASAP. Be the first to have the full prototype hand built and tested by the inventor. You will be listed as a Platinum contributor on the website and Facebook page and will have one in one support and consultation and provide direct input into the manufacturing options as we build the more broadly available version. You will also receive a production run version when they become available and the Wireless package. Includes all rewards at lower levels (except 1st run priority) and a slot on our Blue Ahuizote music compilation to be distributed to all qualified backers (when available). You are paying more for the 3D printed parts, early delivery, knowledge of how to build one yourself and personalized help from the creators... but most importantly, you get 2 RoboTars (the prototype version and the production version). Estimated delivery: October 2014 for Pre-production hand built RoboTar, June 2015 for Production run version.

    You will be listed as a Platinum Supporter of RoboTar on our site. As a Platinum Kickstarter Supporter, you will be given priority above the Gold supporters for future versions, updates, enhancements and accessories. Also, as a pre-production prototype owner, you will have personal support and assistance from the creators in getting your RoboTar up and running and you will have direct input to any enhancements we can reasonably fit into the manufacturing run.

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Funding period

- (40 days)