Innovative guitar attachment allows people living with one hand to play

A team of engineers is reimagining the guitar for people with limb differences. 

Makers Asylum is a community of thinkers in India that uses STEM to come up with innovative solutions to problems. During a digital fabrication workshop, the team created the prototype of an attachment that allows people who are living with one hand to play the guitar. 

“The goal of designing for [people with disabilities] in many cases is to allow them to access conventional instruments,” Makers Asylum stated. “This creates a level-playing field for all, allows collaboration and cultural inclusivity and is also more accessible when it comes to availability of parts and equipment.”

The team created a tool that would serve as a strumming hand with the assumption that “the user would use his existing hand for playing the chords/notes.” 

Makers Asylum opted to make a pedal-powered mechanism that controlled a mechanical arm that strummed the guitar. In the end, the prototype was a success. Ram, who lives without a hand, got to try what they eventually dubbed the Armstrum. 

In a demo video, he played “Hey, Jude” by The Beatles while holding the neck of the guitar with one hand and using his foot to pedal-control the Armstrum which stroked the strings of the instrument.

While Makers Asylum acknowledges that people with limb differences have figured out how to play the guitar without any aides, the Armstrum has fewer constraints and is intended to be a teaching tool for beginners. 

“We found that the design we came up with did not have too many constraints as it was designed specifically for a single-handed user,” Makers Asylum stated. “While this design is not as fine-tuned, it is one way to start thinking about access to guitar-playing for [people with diasbilities].”

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