We have all met many people who want to learn an instrument, guitar and ukulele being the most popular. New learners struggle to learn the basics, such as finger placement, chord progression, and timing. Paying an instructor is very useful but expensive. Today in age, self learning is the way most young people prefer to learn. The internet can give information, but not the intuition needed to really play an instrument.

What it does

The UkeMaster uses an array of low power lasers to show the student where to place their fingers on the ukulele. The app communicates with the UkeMaster to allow the student to select chords they want to learn. Or even a song, where the UkeMaster will show the student how to progress through the chords.

How we built it

For the hardware, we used a C.H.I.P microprocessor to control a custom 3d printed array of lasers. The C.H.I.P controls the lasers using a python script we wrote. The python script incorporated pyrebase (a Firebase python wrapper) to communicate via wifi to a database to retrieve the chords to display. We also built an iOS app using swift and Firebase to control which chords to display and when to display them.

Challenges we ran into

On the software side, we needed to learn swift, firebase, and how to program an iOS app. We have never programmed with these before. On the hardware side, our main challenge was to physically get the system working. The 3d printer was very useful, but due to time constraints, it was impossible to itterate. This led us to have to hack together materials to get the system working. Also, the C.H.I.P had trouble getting the libraries we needed (pyrebase), but we overcame this challenge.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

It works!! We were very happy to get the iOS app working considering we've never programmed it before. We are very proud of the hardware also, because 36 hours is a very short time to physically built something as complicated as a portible laser array that can be attached to an instrument easily. We are also very proud of our use of firebase to integrate our wireless laser array to an iOS app. We also won the cup stacking competition, so we got that going for us.

What we learned

Every!! How to program an iOS app. How to use firebase. How to use pyrebase. How to 3d print strong parts. How to manage our stress under time constraints. How to overcome challenges under time constraints. How to look for answers, and ask for help.

What's next for UkeMaster

We would like to add timing features so that the user can learn to play with a tempo. We would also like to have a built in tuner. The best feature we want to implement is a chord recognition system that will detect if the user is playing the right chord. This can be combined with machine learning to custom make a lesson that will focus on the individuals education.

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