What think? Solenoid/servo valve actuation idea...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by gordonfurr1, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

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    I think it is time someone seriously attempted valve actuation using small servos and the control input being by sensitive pressure switches which could be placed ANYWHERE in ANY ORIENTATION to suit the player...and with proper design the actuation COULD potentially be made faster than ANYBODY could manually depress a valve. The battery pack required could also power a wireless mic system.
    I know, I know...not for many...but I am crazy and don't know enough to shut up.
    Since I am from the (French) horn world, I have LONG thought about solenoid/servo valve actuation instead of the cumbersome paddles and linkages. Horns do not NEED to be lightning fast like trumpets, but with such a system the valve orientation could be optimized for acoustic performance and avoiding anti-nodes...while the actuating solenoids could be mounted anywhere convenient for the player..EVEN on the player's fingertips INSIDE THE BELL...so, if one had problems fingering left handed, one could set it up as they pleased.
    ADDITIONALLY..and I know this is a ghastly thing to propose...but technically a difficult passage COULD BE PRE-PROGRAMMED so the trumpeter could focus on the LIPS and ignore (or extend his abilities beyond the limitations of his fingers). Since I am losing control of my right hand due to MS (I can BARELY move my right hand now) I could STILL enjoy playing otherwise impossible fingerings and therefore still enjoy playing as best I could.
    Just thoughts.
    ..and I DON'T think it would be that hard to achieve such a system.
    Heck...multiple fingers could be used...one could have six or seven or eight contact points that could allow more than one finger to actuate a valve...or one finger inputting THREE valves or TWO valves instead of requiring a finger per each valve...thereby potentially DOUBLING the fingering speed...This could make a very customizable format for the performer to use the advanced equipment to take the sport of playing to another level...sort of like the oversized heads on tennis rackets did to that sport.
    Air actuation would also be possible, powered by replaceable CO2 canisters.

    Yes, I know DeLoreans REALLY didn't transit the space-time continuum...unless John Z. was still heavy in his coke habit.
     
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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  3. Rapier

    Rapier Forte User

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    A tuba player, in a brass band I was in ,did that in the 80's. He used a car battery to power it, with the switches placed on the side of the instrument. It worked fine but was pretty noisy. He did it to see if it would work.
     
  4. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

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    With a CAR BATTERY!
    Wow.
    Time to take it to the lithium ion phase.
    What was causing the noise...mechanical connections or the motors? Or both?
     
  5. Rapier

    Rapier Forte User

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    The noise seemed to be from the way he'd worked out how to remotely work the valves. He only did it as a project, with bits of Meccano and some motors. It was a long time ago and I didn't pay pay much attention, I mean it was a tuba. :D
     
  6. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

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    WOW! THAT is like rereading my own thoughts!
    There IS a need for adaptive technology.
    But the technical capacity of such a system could be now developed to potentially be BEYOND the purely mechanical instrument architecture we currently employ for EVERYONE. I see it as a paradigm to be broken.

    Regarding my own situation...
    The left side of my body is in perfect condition...all the damage was done to the right side. What occurred was the MS caused a lesion on my spinal cord just under the base of my skull...and the nerves affected run to my right hand and thigh/calf of my right leg. There is still some limited mobility there, but it is slow, spasmodic, and quickly exhausted.
    Now, I am at an advantage somewhat in that primarily I was a (French) horn player...I am USED to using my left hand to finger notes, and all my right hand really must do is be able to slightly cup inside a large bell and support the bell.
    A problem is when I try to play the trumpet. Horns are much more ponderous, and not likely ever called upon to dance quickly over fast passages as a trumpet. Though I am adequately facile with my left hand for horn fingering, it is too slow for trumpet work...so whatever I do should be with my remaining facility in my right hand, or with a combination of fingers from both hands. Using electrical connections and a solenoid to actuate a valve allows a choice of fingers to be used...even to the extent that a touchpad can have spots to select any combination of valves. There is much more that can easily be done now than in the nineties when this article was written, and there are many ways that the technology can enhance the lives..not just of the disabled (though that is wonderful) but the abilities of ALL players and instrument evolution/development.
    Another thought just occurred to me...Like fighter pilots look at a target and the artillery follows the pilot's eyesight, a person READING a passage can have the valves FOLLOW the dictated notation through the use of a similar system...perhaps the player's left index finger could signal the start of the sight-reading sequence to a microcomputer, which would then follow the player's gaze and replicate the fingerings in proper time. Hmmmmm.
    THANK you for sharing this interesting article!
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that the only musical solution must imitate the motion of the fingers and offer mechanical feedback. There must be provisioning for "half valving".

    The first decent digital pianos had minimal action - only 8 different possible attacks. The finest today have 64 or 128 steps and are MUCH closer to reality. 8 bits of resolution would be accurate enough for a trumpet, the question is, where do we apply the feedback?
     
  8. ConnDirectorFan

    ConnDirectorFan Fortissimo User

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    Neat idea; reminds me of the electro-pneumatic action used by pipe/theatre organs. However, if a car battery is ever involved, hopefully nothing short circuits...
     
  9. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

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    What's the fun without the occasional unintended combustion?
     

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