Posted by: robotnews | April 5, 2007

Guitar Heronoid


Guitar Hero is a popular rhythm game on the PlayStation 2 that was a hit and spawned several sequels. The players were able to rock to some of the most famous rock songs in the game by pressing the correct button and strumming the fret as the notes hit the line. It was customary for big groups of friends to play together until someone decided that it’s now time for robots to rock to the groove!

Rafael Mizrahi and Tal Chalozin from GarageGeeks embarked on a project to create a robot that can play Guitar Hero. GarageGeeks is a registered group in Isreal that provides a space for like minded people to network and socialize together to brainstorm and realize imaginative non-commercial projects.

According to the creators, the robot was separated into two distinct parts, the “brain” and the “body”. The “brain” processes the input and sends the appropriate response to the body while the body controls the finger movements.

The robot’s vision is actually the video signal from the console fed into a computer. The computer then observes the image and analyses it to make the correct decision. Basically, the creators discovered that when the fret reaches the line, it will generate a graphic (explosion) that contains bright colours. Setting a threshold in the Brightness value when using the HSV colour space, the image can analyse and thus deduce which fret that has reached the line.

The “brain” than sends the signal to the listener on the “body”. The listened forwards the signal to the control board which then moves the respective finger in response. The creators had to construct a 5 moving finger left hand to press the 5 buttons and a single moving finger right hand to strum the guitar.

Combining everything on a display window doll, and donning him with a cool Guitar Heronoid tee shirt, he is ready to rock!

It was an interesting experiment, especially to see what fervent passion and interesting ideas can mash and lead to. This is a simple robot that does too complicated but using computer vision to deduce an action and responding to it. While each individual parts may seem simple, the sum of all efforts is no mean feat! There are software challenges as well as hardware challenges, especially the construction of hands to resemble human beings is no easy task.

Although the Guitar Heronoid is not perfect, I will just start to get anxious when I play a game online with another player; is that a fellow human player at the other end, or a robot? Especially after just suffering a humiliating defeat!

Chua Chong Han (U045816M)

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Responses

  1. When I first read about the guitar heronoid, my reaction is one of disgust. I am disgusted at how much time I have spent on the guitar hero games, instead of trying to come up with a robot that can play the game for me. The differences are pretty obvious.

    One, if I play guitar hero, then I will just be a person that plays guitar hero. If I beat the game, I will be a celebrity in the comforts of my living room.

    Now, if I were to build a robot that plays guitar hero for me, imagine the fame and money that would come rolling in! Real fame! Real money! Oh… Just thinking about celebrity makes my head feel light…

    Anyways, I admit that the Guitar Heronoid is a pretty cool invention. I mean, just look at the hands. Imagine how many man hours it must have taken to develop the hands. Also, I noticed that the robot played almost flawlessly.

    Some people may complain about lag and the other imperfections of the humanoid. I say to these people, “Give the robot a break! Even I can’t play perfectly!”

    Brought to you by,
    Nick (U045902U)

  2. Inspite of the robot being a fine piece of work, I am not sure if robots can substitute humans to play/perform music in future. The “touch” factor that varies from person to person, that distinguishes a musician from another would not be there. Guitar playing would become monotonous with the robot and I dont think this would go beyond a past-time fun activity.

  3. The above post was mine.

    Inspite of the robot being a fine piece of work, I am not sure if robots can substitute humans to play/perform music in future. The “touch” factor that varies from person to person, that distinguishes a musician from another would not be there. Guitar playing would become monotonous with the robot and I dont think this would go beyond a past-time fun activity.

    Balasubramanian Prasanna
    U045872U

  4. I believe that at the end of the day, these innovations will just serve to improve the field of robotics. The closer these robots can perform task that resmebles a human the more adaptable future robots will be come in their motion. However, this will still be in the realm of complementing people in their lives.

    I believe that music is still an art. What’s the difference between you playing a music CD and having a robot playing it for you.

    Feng Junwei Benjamin
    U046064E

  5. Haha, actually this Guitar Heronoid doesn’t do anything “useful”, to be precise. It’s just something a bunch of people got together to do, for fun. But I find it really interesting, really fun. It’s just.. the geek factor. Oops.

    I believe that electronics cannot do music the way human beings can, and can never ever achieve it, unless, they somehow possess emotions. Music is human, and robots are not human.

    U0405816 Chua Chong Han


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