The Guitarion, being developed at Chiba University’s Graduate School of Engineering, is a guitar that can be played by hemiplegics. People with unilateral paralysis, as a result of a stroke or other reason, can play the Guitarion using only their unaffected side.
“The guitar is held in place by the non-disabled hand, and to play it, there’s a solenoid in this part. The solenoid works with a foot switch. When you press the switch, the solenoid moves up and down, and the picks attached to it pluck individual strings of the guitar.”
This device was originally designed to be detachable, and the research group wanted to use it with various guitars. However, if the solenoid part is misaligned even slightly, the strings don’t sound. So, additional adjustment is needed.
“Basically, all that happens is the solenoid is moved up and down using DC power. But we’re using a microcontroller for the switching. This isn’t an alternate switch, it’s a momentary switch. By using a microcontroller to work a momentary switch like an alternate switch, we control the strings so they move in one direction only, rather than back and forth each time you switch.”
To develop a commercial version, the group thinks it’s necessary to add a way to produce all sounds with a single switch, as well as plucking one string through one button.