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Physics project, Grade 11, Help

  1. Nov 23, 2011 #1
    Physics project, Grade 11, Help :)

    Hello everyone, I am new to this site so forgive me if anything I say is wrong or faulty.
    In my grade 11 physics class, we have been assingned a project, one that we choose what our focus will be. I have chosen to dive into the feild of robotics and the first image that came to mind (for whatever reason) was a robotic device which would play a piano. My friends got the wrong idea right off the bat, thinking it would be some AI, super advanced and expensive peice. My idea is, a bar (or some straight support) that would hold a series of linear actuators or any motor (help) that would easily press the key of a piano down.
    I wish to find a way to translate which actuator I wish to activate, at what time, and in what order to play a basic song. Like I said, I have no far fetched ideas of AI, just simply something that pushes down when I tell it to, which also brings me to what would I have to use to relay that information? Some sort of software, a physical peice?
    If anyone has any ideas or modifcations whether it involved my proposed project or another, please feel free.
    I would very much appreciate any help, tips, and feedback/criticism.

    You can learn more from criticism than a compliment :)
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2011 #2
    Re: Physics project, Grade 11, Help :)

    How would you like to control it? Would you like to tell it what to do on the fly, or have a set of commands made up before it starts? Or would you like to decode a previously recorded song and have it played (very difficult)? I recommend looking into either an arduino or UBW microcontroller. This could easily turn into an expensive project, especially if you use electric motors. If you want to keep the cost down, you could also look into using 'muscle wire'.
  4. Nov 23, 2011 #3
    Re: Physics project, Grade 11, Help :)

    My original thought was to simply write some coding to play a pre-designated song, Ode to Joy for example. I have come to find out that this indeed could be very expensive and have come up with other ideas such as a build involving Pulsing-Width Modulation, also just the general field of magnetics.
    I recall reading up on robotics when I first got the idea in class and I do remember seeing robotic devices such as arms, limbs, and hands that consisted of muscle wire. Seeing such a professional piece led me to believe it was well done and well funded :), I had assumed that would be costly as well. Are there any simpler ideas and possible displays of Muscle Wire that I would be able to focus on?
    Being the teenager that I am, I can move on quickly and as I said before, PWM has stirred an interest. Any ideas/thoughts/feedback on that field too would be much appreciated.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  5. Nov 23, 2011 #4
    Re: Physics project, Grade 11, Help :)

    Also to note, being in grade 11 I do not possess a strong physics vernacular. I do however have an uncommon degree of common sense :D
  6. Nov 23, 2011 #5
    Re: Physics project, Grade 11, Help :)

    Before I give you some technical advice I have to ask:

    Do you have any knowledge in programming?

    If so, how much do you know?
  7. Nov 24, 2011 #6
    Re: Physics project, Grade 11, Help :)

    Not much but am eager to learn some. I may have ditched the robotics idea due to obvious reasons. Now reading on PWM
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