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RoboTar: Robotic Guitar of the Future?

aNewDomain.net — Will robots and the robotic guitar exist in the future of music? Yes … most likely. And why not? Part of that future musicscape might already be here. Enter the RoboTar.

RoboTar Robotic Guitar

Image courtesy: Kevin Krumwiede

The RoboTar is the brainbot (er, brainchild) of inventor Kevin Krumwiede. At the time of this writing, Krumwiede seeks Kickstarter funding for RoboTar’s production and distribution. By day, Krumwiede is the senior director of inventory management technology at a large global fortune 500 company where he has more than 20 years’ experience. He was inspired to develop RoboTar because he had a guitar-playing friend who tragically lost the use of his left hand due to a stroke.

In essence, the RoboTar is a robotic hand inside a box attached to a foot pedal. This robotic hand gets placed over the first four frets of the guitar, like an expansive and boxy capo.

RoboTar robotic guitar box capo

Courtesy: Kevin Krumwiede

Using a software app which connects to the device via BlueTooth, the human guitar player programs the RoboTar and then controls it in real-time via the foot-pedal.

RoboTar Robotic Guitar Foot Pedal

Courtesy: Kevin Krumwiede

Magic Hands

The RoboTar doesn’t get tired, doesn’t get tendinitis, and doesn’t get blisters. Also, it’s capable of fretting chord shapes that would be impossible for the human hand — unless, of course, the human guitar player has spider fingers. But that’s not very likely.

The RoboTar is not a total replacement for a human’s fret-hand. Among its limitations is the fact that it only fits over the guitar’s first four frets. Another limitation is that it cannot “think” about making music. As a guitar player I can imagine several brilliant uses for the RoboTar:

  • Keeping guitar practice fun and using it for confidence-building for beginners.
  • Helping intermediates practice both improv and composition with less frustration.
  • Allowing isolated and focused right-hand practice without boring the player to tears.
  • Facilitating experimental or futuristic compositions and performances by advanced players.
  • In line with its design inspiration, helping the disabled continue to or learn to play the guitar.

What astounding music would we have on recordings today if Michael Hedges had the RoboTar? Well, with the way that guy played, I have to wonder if he secretly did! Here’s an excellent demo video of the RoboTar in action:

For aNewDomain.net, I’m Brant David.

Based in New Jersey, Brant David is a senior writer for aNewDomain.net. Follow him at +Brant David on Google+ and Brant@aNewDomain.net.

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  • Kevin Krumwiede

    Thank you for the awesome write up and it is so satisfying seeing Michael Hedges name associated with RoboTar. I saw him several times in concert when he was still with us, I humbly but proudly play a few of his songs …without RoboTar :) and he is an inspiration and one of the reasons I love guitar.
    Robo-tar.com

    • Brant David

      Hey there Kevin,

      Great to see you here at aND! I’m a guitar player myself, and Michael Hedges’ “Rickover’s Dream” either gives me goosebumps or brings tears to my eyes.

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