A smart guitar for blind, deaf, and mute people

ChordAssist aims to bring the joy of learning the guitar to those who otherwise may have problems with accessing guitar tutorials. Offering advice in Braille, in speech, and on-screen, ChordAssist has been built specifically for deaf, blind, and mute people. Creator Joe Birch, who also built the BrailleBox device, used Raspberry Pi, Google Assistant, and a variety of accessibility tools and technology for this accessible instrument.

Accessibility and music

Inspired by a hereditary visual impairment in his family, Buffer’s Android Lead Joe Birch spent six months working on ChordAssist, an accessible smart guitar.

“This is a project that I used to bring my love of music and accessibility (inspired by my family condition of retinitis pigmentosa) together to create something that could allow everyone to enjoy learning and playing music — currently an area which might not be accessible to all,” explained Joe when he shared his project on Twitter earlier this month.

BrailleBox

This isn’t Joe’s first step into the world of smart accessibility devices. In 2017, he created BrailleBox, an Android Things news delivery device that converts daily news stories into Braille, using wooden balls atop solenoids that move up and down to form Braille symbols.

Demonstration of Joe Birch's BrailleBox

ChordAssist

This same technology exists within ChordAssist, along with an LCD screen for visual learning, and a speaker system for text-to-speech conversion.

Chord Assist was already an Action on the Google Project that I built for the Google Home, now I wanted to take that and stick it in a guitar powered by voice, visuals, and Braille. All three of these together will hopefully help to reduce the friction that may be experienced throughout the process of learning an instrument.

ChordAssist is currently still at the prototype stage, and Joe invites everyone to offer feedback so he can make improvements.

To learn more about ChordAssist, visit the ChordAssist website and check out Joe’s write-up on Medium.

4 comments

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Guitar *SUPER*-hero :-)

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Awesome! I just learned of a band of three deaf people who’ve been playing for 40 years. Anything’s possible! https://www.beethovensnightmare.com/

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Curious how this helps mute people?

Alex Bate

Those who are unable to speak are able to select the chords via the buttons and display instead of using voice commands.

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