We don’t normally share news about crowdfunded projects – but the new device ‘Soundbrenner Pulse’ from German start-up Soundbrenner has caught our eye for a few reasons.
Anyone who has learnt to play an instrument under tuition will have encountered a metronome at one point or another. For those who are unfamiliar, they are small devices that are designed to help players maintain a steady rhythm, normally by producing an audible click every beat. Some electric ones have even used a beep, which is a very quick way to lose your sanity.
We’ve spoken before about the possibility for haptics to replace or augment annoying audible beeps, but we normally have an industrial handheld tool in mind. In this instance, Soundbrenner is using haptic feedback to transmit the tempo to musicians – using a wearable device with an embedded vibration motor.
The system expertly demonstrates a couple of vibration motor design points we’ve highlighted in the past. First, the Soundbrenner Pulse is controlled by an accompanying smartphone app which transmits the BPM wirelessly (even to multiple devices). This is a great example of how to play vibration motors remotely and the systems-based thinking behind it (see this link for an example with the Haptic Feedback Evaluation Kit).
Also, the Soundbrenner Pulse is designed to have an amplitude that is as high as possible. This means not only selecting a motor with a high Typical Normalised Vibration Amplitude but also keeping the weight of the device as low as possible. By reducing the size of the target mass, the force produced by the vibration motor will cause a greater acceleration (measured in G). The Typical Normalised Amplitude is rated to a device that weighs 100g, reducing the target mass has the same effect as increasing the motor strength. This is crucial so that users can wear the Soundbrenner Pulse on top of clothes if they wish.
Currently, the Soundbrenner Pulse is on crowdfunding site indiegogo.com. You can access the page here (which has lots of extra information about the haptic technology, including a cool gif comparing vibration strengths). Funding is set to close on the 30th of April.