Power Gig Sixtring Guitar (First Act / Seven45 Studios)

The Challenge: To develop a fully functional electric guitar that is also a game controller where each fret and string position could be detected by the game system.

The final product came together in less than 18 months. The design includes twelve fully wired frets that detect a string press in a scanned keyboard fashion. The data is collected by a Microchip PIC microcontroller and then transmitted wirelessly via 2.4GHZ to a gaming console. For the Xbox 360 it is the proprietary Infineon chip set required by Microsoft. For the PS3 we developed a custom solution using a 3rd party wireless model and the USB connection to the console.

Other key challenges included:

  • developing an adequate dampener mechanism for the strings when the guitar is used in game mode
  • development of an all-in-one pickup that is both a dual coil humbucking pickup and a hex coil pickup for the game mode
  • development of manufacturable split fret and fret board assembly
  • developing a data packet that would be backwards compatible with existing game titles while providing addition game play features enabled by this guitar

The following are a some professionally shot instructional videos on how the guitar works...