Electronic Drum Kit Design

In the spring of 2016, I worked with four other graduate students to design an electronic drum kit. This was part of the course Design of Microprocessor-Based Systems (ME 235) taught by Dr. George Anwar at UC Berkeley.

Our task was to design a system that was both real-time and multitasking. We were given an NI myRio and encouraged to program in LabVIEW.

Our team decided to make an unconventional drum set. In our electronic drum kit (see image below), the user can draw his or her own drums on a dry erase board. A camera is mounted overhead. Our program identifies the objects and allows the user to attach a sound to each of the drums he or she has drawn through a LabVIEW GUI. When the user hits each drawn “drum” with one of our drumsticks, the chosen sound will play. LED’s flash in time with hits for special effect.

Electronic drum kit set up

Electronic drum kit setup

I was responsible for the mechanical design of the drumstick, programming the drumstick head tracking in LabVIEW, and creating the top-level program and GUI in LabVIEW. I gained the following skills through this project:

  • Packaging electronics
  • Machining polycarbonate
  • Programming “blob” and “color” recognition in LabVIEW
  • Programming a microcontroller in LabVIEW
  • Designing a GUI

If you’re interested in the technical details of how the system worked, please see our report. You can also view a video of the kit being played!

Thank you to my teammates, Brian Cera, Aimee Goncalves, Jeffery Ware, and Edward Zhu.


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