Trombone Champ trombone sensor

Hi there, I am curious how people with more experience in IoT would go about making a device to attach to an actual trombone to control this game:

I imagine there would be two vital parts, plus a third optional one.First, it would need to determine the position of the trombone slide. Next, it would need to send position data to the game. Finally, perhaps something could detect whether air was moving through the instrument.

It would make sense to set up a usb connection and have firmware to act like a mouse.

For the measurement, I’m a little more stumped. I think the hardest method would be to mount an ultrasonic receiver and transmitter to two points. Perhaps there’s a way you could mark the tube and then the sensor would only need to point at it from very close.


This is an AWESOME project idea!! However it is a bit tricky. You’ll want to use a Photon or other earlier Particle device if you have one since only Gen 2 devices have HID Mouse/Keyboard support. You could probably make something work with a newer device if needed but you’d have to go through a lot of trial and error.

I talked to some of Particle’s development team about this (thanks @BDub!) and one possible solution is to use a “string potentiometer” for measurement so it’s more reliable. They are not cheap and might be tough to find, but you can try to make one out of a rotary encoder, non stretchable string, and possibly a rubber band or elastic “counter-string” to keep tension on it. If you can get your hands on a string pot, go that route.

Are you planning on actually playing the trombone? If you are, you can detect audio more easily than airflow. If you do use a microphone for the air sensing and you are playing the instrument maybe you can just use an FFT function to determine the frequency being played and use that for the control.

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Looks like someone else had the same idea

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Here’s someone else’s idea of a more electronic solution.

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Cool! I still like the FFT idea over these others I think, because if you could remap the octave to allow you play a lower octave if you wanted. Yet to be seen how accurate it will be, but I feel like it should be pretty accurate considering you have one note to monitor.

I built the DMTF decoder with display (more-examples/01-dtmf-display) from this library and it worked great! Particle ADCDMAGen3_RK

You might be able to use the example 3 or 4 for a single tone.

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