Is music just for the hearing? No. Music can be enjoyed and performed by the deaf and hard of hearing. As a matter of fact, there exists a large community of deaf musicians. Commonly, the deaf "hear" the music by feeling the vibrations. Hopefully with the completion of this program they can now "hear" by sight.
What it does
At this point our project can recognize three guitar chords; G major, C major, and D major. Each chord is represented by a different color; red, blue, and green (respectively). An orange LED lights up when the correct note is played following the illumination of the appropriate LED.
How we built it
We used the Arduino 101 Genuino board, which we attached lights and a microphone to. We then used fast fourier transform(FFT) to determine what notes were played. The notes then could be assigned to the chords. We had to write code to calculate standard deviations to create a program that can pick up the chords accurately in a noisy environment.
Challenges we ran into
Too much code and not enough memory!! Our program was using almost twice the amount of memory than the Arduino allowed, so we had to get creative with our variables, reduce the range of the notes, and implement data structs. We could've used the Dragon board to make our program quicker and easier, but we liked the idea that the Arduino is a more affordable option. The cheaper our project is, the more people will be able to benefit from it, and at the end of the day that is what was most important to us.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
What began as an idea for a novelty game, turned into a program that can make a difference in society. It was extremely satisfying to have created something from scratch that can have a real positive effect on the deaf/hard of hearing community.
What we learned
We learned that hardware has its limits!! During the process of writing the program we found ourselves being re-routed and forced to find different approaches to solve our problems. Also, each person on our team had a different skill set allowing us to learn new things from each other. We learned a massive amount about how fourier transform works with the Arduino libraries and the math that goes into being accurate with our frequencies.
What's next for def Jamz
The possibilities for this program are endless. The next step for this project is to be able to apply expand the code to recognize more cords and eventually full songs. We look forward to ultimately creating visual art from the music played, each note being a different color that appears on a monitor creating shapes and strokes to the beat of the music. The project at its heart is about the DIY spirit of the deaf/hard of hearing community and how we can give them the tools to succeed