Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The bagpipes are a celtic instrument in which the player uses a bag full of air to pump air through numerous pipes, each of which makes a tone. One of the pipes has little finger-holes so that you can play notes. (The other three or four pipes play a sort of background-chord.) You need a strong pair of lungs to play the bagpipes, or you run out of air quickly.
So if you're asthmatic, or perhaps lazy, how would I automate it? Well, I would have an air-pump, the kind made for aerating a fish tank, and have that pump air into the bag at a steady rate. You'd still have to use the finger holes and squeeze the bag, but this way, you don't pass out. As a bonus, this system is much less wet than your own breath unless you live in an extremely humid area. (Though modern bagpipes have ways of dealing with the moisture.)
What's that, you have arthritic fingers too? I could whip up a set of midi-controlled valves, so an embedded computer can ensure that it plays the right tune. You'll still have to squeeze the bag, but that's so easy that a small child could do it.
What's that now? Now you want to automate the bag squeezing for some sort of 24-hour musical festival that you couldn't stay awake the entirety for? Okay, a simpler version of the finger valves squeezes a clamp around the bag.
And now your neighbors are angry? Well, not everyone likes bagpipe music, and that I can't do anything about.

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