Currently, drum sets are expensive and difficult to move around. These barriers to entry make it difficult for an amateur to play the drums casually. We have often seen people drumming in the air to the beat, imagining what their drum performance would actually sound like. Our project removes the need to imagine by turning air-drumming into percussion music, in real-time with low latency integrated with a Desktop application to allow you to choose and refine your drum kit. By building these portable drumsticks, we want to ensure that you can drum on the go to realize your full playing potential!

How we built it

We fabricated battery-powered Smart Drumsticks with ABS, complete with an Integrated Measurement Unit that is capable of measuring the triaxial position, rotation vector and acceleration of the drumstick. The drumstick communicates with the computer via Bluetooth. The master device, upon receiving data from the drumsticks, will output a corresponding audio output based on which drum was hit and how hard the drum was hit.


Enhanced Portability, durability, less extensive setup, inexpensive and customizable

Challenges we ran into

  1. Polynomial error growth rate in initial displacement based tracking algorithm
  2. Noise reduction from IMU readings
  3. Drum pulse definition
  4. Parameter tuning of hit detection algorithm
  5. Drumstick fabrication and integration
  6. GUI and Bluetooth driver compatibility

What we learned

  1. Simplify requirements as much as possible
  2. Settle all independent work first
  3. Integrating all parts can be a long process
  4. 3D Printing through an external vendor takes a long time!

What's next for AirDrums

  1. Haptic feedback to provide feedback on impact and even potentially aid players in playing a beat.
  2. Orientation tracking of the drumstick to remove the need for keeping the drumsticks right side up while playing.
  3. Smartphone app to enable a truly portable experience as a Desktop app is limiting.
  4. Increased customization so users can upload their own sounds.

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