Engineering School Innovations: Pitcher Perfect Tuner

Feb. 27, 2012
With the goal of creating a device to help music students improve their skills on the trumpet, engineering students at the University of California, San Diego, employ microcontrollers, servo motors and software to create a device that enables a trumpet to hit the perfect pitch.

The idea behind this project was to create an instrumental tuner for a trumpet that not only determined the pitch, but also adjusted it for you. This concept was inspired by the difficulty of beginning trumpet players to learn tuning and recognize what pitch to listen to. Through automated adjustment, the system is insensitive to naturally out of tune notes and temperature variation. Using sound acquisition, signal processing, and mechanical control, a prototype was realized that found a pitch center within 3 seconds for a range of notes with an accuracy of 1Hz.

Students: Jason Caffrey, Eddie Gibb
University: The University of California, San Diego – Bioengineering
Equipment Used
National Instruments myDAQ and LabVIEW 2010 student edition and ELVISmx
Eastman TR-400 trumpet
Sony Vaio VGN-FW139E laptop
Arduino Duemilanove with ATmega328 microcontroller with prototype boardshield
Electret condenser microphone
Powered prototype board
Power HD-2400A servo motor
See a video of the Pitcher Perfect Tuner in action below to learn more about the design and engineering behind it.

Automation World would like to thank National Instruments for connecting us with the UCSD Pitcher Perfect Tuner team to make this "Engineering School Innovations" installment possible.

If you know of an engineering school project we should feature, contact [email protected].

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