Chord Assist Project Helps Blind Students Learn To Play Guitar

UK developer Joe Birch has detailed Chord Assist, his project that aims to help people who are blind, mute, or deaf learn to play the guitar. With Chord Assist, which is powered by Actions on Google, students can learn guitar chords by requesting the information verbally, getting it on a screen built into the guitar, or using an interactive Braille system.

Chord Assist is a system that makes learning the guitar more accessible to people who have vision, speech, or hearing issues. In its prototype form, the guitar features a button that is pressed to enable a microphone built into the instrument, enabling the student to ask for a chord that is then explained using a built-in speaker.

Alternatively, the guitar also features an LCD with buttons that enable users to manually select the chord they want to learn, which is presented as a visual guide on the screen. Finally, there are also large interactive dots that function as a raised Braille format to help blind and low-vision individuals learn chords using touch.

In addition to Google's software, the guitar system is made possible by a Raspberry Pi as its 'brain,' a 5-inch LCD, pushbuttons and switches, 5v solenoids, a microphone, portable battery pack, speaker with grille, and more.

In a long post on the Google Developer Experts Medium account, Birch describes the creation process alongside a wiring diagram that shows how to bring all of the parts together, as well as the code to make the system work. Ultimately, Birch describes his guitar as a proof-of-concept that's likely to be refined in the future.