DiaForce films could replace guitar pickups in the future

Posted on Jul 13 2011 - 7:30pm by Julius

For guitarists, capturing sounds from our six-stringed friend involves plugging it into a guitar interface and launching a DAW software on a computer. Researchers from Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films in Germany are developing a more accurate solution that promises to replace the guitar pickup. The tailpiece of a guitar has been coated with a material, which is claimed to capture playing movements in minute detail and convert them to digital signals for processing.

The thin film coating acts as a sensor to convert physical string tension to digital signals. The German researchers have tested a number of coating parameters and materials before settling on a thin 10 micrometer coating of DiaForce film.

“When the player changes the string tension, the pressure on the film changes,” said Saskia Biehl, head of the micro and sensor technology group. “This in turn leads to a change in resistance, which is measured by electrodes on the film.”

Biehl added that it can also measure string vibration, “which would make it additionally possible to digitally represent the stroke strength and fading – regardless of whether the player plucks the strings with their fingers or a plectrum.”

The engineers said that the film can be used as an alternative to the electric guitars’ electromagnetic pickups, which convert string vibrations to an electrical signal.

“We also want to extend its application to other musical instruments,” Biehl added. “After all, force is exerted at various points on many string instruments, and so the possible applications are numerous.”

 

via: Geeky Gadgets

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