P13323: Optoelectric Guitar Pickup

Planning & Execution

Table of Contents

Project Summary

 P13323 Project Summary

P13323 Project Summary

If you would like a brief rundown of the project requirements, the Project Summary can be downloaded as a PDF here. This gives a more specific definition of the intricacies involved with this project.

Traditionally, electric guitars have used electromagnetic pickups, which detect changes in an electromagnetic field caused by the vibration of metal guitar strings. The objective of this project is to create a product which can be mounted on a guitar, and by opto-electronic means, amplify a string movement from the guitar, and output a signal. Also, two types of filtering, both digital and analog, will be provided.

Objectives relate to tone detection and tone quality, along with mounting flexibility, being fully removable from the guitar. Variation in string movement, player hand positioning and environmental interference make this project a bit of a challenge.

Core Team Members: Rachel Arquette - Project Manager, Caroline Lichtenberger - Lead Engineer, Christopher "CP" Perry, Christopher Steele, Joe Mauger, R. Paul Hoops, Ye "Steven" Kuang,

Intellectual Property Considerations

Because of the availability of patents online, we were able to verify that patents already exist for optical instruments. Two relevant examples follow:

Optical pickup by reflection

Optical pickup by reflection

This states in its abstract that it covers the reflective type of IR sensors only while reproducing the note. Also, the unit is integrated heavily into the guitar itself.

There is also a patent on coaxial mount sensor system as well.

Optical pickup, break beam style.

Optical pickup, break beam style.

So most likely, we will not be setting any goals to achieve patent rights with content in this project, nor will we be use these patents to steer our project, as they seem to focus on integrating the system into a specialized guitar.

Customer Needs

The complete Customer Needs list

The complete Customer Needs list

The current Customer Needs list in PDF format. Also available is the relationship matrix to link needs and specifications together.


The complete Customer Specifications list

The complete Customer Specifications list

The current Customer Specifications list in PDF format.

Team Norms & Values

Team behavior expectations

It is our expectation that there will be a team wide distribution of work, regardless of expertise, and that work will keep a constant forward pace.

Balanced workload

To maintain a balanced work distribution, we will keep open communication between team members and prevent stalls in progress by reaching out to each other for help.

Roles and responsibilities

Roles will be based on volunteers for the position and consensus agreement.

Honoring the strength of individuals

Individual knowledge in specific fields will be recognized and allowed to drive progress for specific tasks.

Interactions with guide

Interactions with the guide will be through the project lead.

Communication with one another

We will try to maintain as much person to person interaction as possible, but will also make use of email and messengers to communicate.

Decision making

In most cases, decision making will be based on consensus. Majority vote may be implemented during rare cases of disagreement.

Expectations for integrity or responsibility

Members will respect due dates and finish assigned projects in a timely manor. If problems arise, early and clear communication for help on the task must be sought.

Conflict management

In the cases of a conflict, team members will try to work it out individually, or with the project lead. In more difficult cases, outside counseling may be sought.

Project Plans & Schedules

MSD I: Project Schedule, with Work Breakdown PDF


Meeting Minutes, Notes, & Actions

Project Reviews

Preliminary Design Review Notes

I. Dr. Patru (Customer)

II. Les (Guide)

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