The Conundrums

Dare to Snare

Project Summary

Project Information

The Robotic Drum Assist is a system that allows any student to participate in music education using a basic drum set. Music education is a requirement in New York State, and is widely accepted as being an integral learning experience for fostering creative thinking and expression. However, some physical disabilities don't allow for the use of most kinds of instruments. As it stands, most teachers use a hand-over-hand method to play instruments with students, which makes students dependent on teachers and caregivers in their classes. This system is intended to help those with physical disabilities that inhibit music participation, but who would be able to control a robotic assist to interact with various percussive instruments. The assist will be primarily controlled through easy-touch buttons, which will be able to support students with multiple types of disabilities.

The goal is to deliver a functional prototype for use in high school music classes that would allow students to play independently. The designed interfaces will be adaptable to the desired state of playing and support the independent control of tempo for a drum set consisting of a snare drum, bass drum, and hi-hat. The device will be safe, portable, and compatible with standard instruments and all users, allowing for easy set-up and take-down for use with different groups. There will be options for completely independent generation of beats and rhythms through interaction with the button interface.

Ultimately, this device will increase music accessibility and interactivity for everyone, creating valuable new opportunities for education and expression.

Project Title:
Robotic Drum Assist

Project Number:

Start Term:

End Term:

Faculty Guide:
Art North

Primary Customer(s):
Molly King

Sponsor (financial support):
Rochester Institute of Technology MSD Program

Team Members

Sofía QuiñonesElectrical Engineering

Testing and Verification Lead

Irfan PunekarComputer Engineering

Customer Relations and Aesthetics Lead

Yasha PavlovskiyElectrical EngineeringHead of Control Systems and InterfaceYXP2378@RIT.EDU
Hannah Van FleetMechanical Engineering

Mechanical Lead and Head of Purchasing

Josh AbramsComputer Engineering

Technical Lead and Documentation Manager

Mehmet KoksalElectrical Engineering

Lead Electrical Hardware Engineer



Work Breakdown: By Phase

Work Breakdown: By Topic

Project Management

Design Tools

Design Documentation



Presentation & Dissemination





Risk Management

Problem Management

Communication & Minutes

Use Cases


Functional Decomposition

Morphological Chart

Pugh Concept Selection


Mechanical Drawings

Electrical Schematics

Software Diagrams



Test Fixtures


Test Plans

Analysis Results


Test Results

Design Review Documents

Technical Paper


Imagine RIT Exhibit

For drawings, schematics, diagrams, and flowcharts, see the individual phase pages. Documentation is currently organized with the context of the phase they were produced in. A comprehensive list of documentation materials will be ready during MSD II as documentation is finalized and prototyping clears up lingering questions. 


  • We would like to thank our customer and partner, Molly King, for her support and enthusiasm throughout this project. 
  • We would like to thank Steve Pellow, Jeff Pelz, and Dan Phillips for providing access to some RIT resources regarding eye-tracking technologies.
  • Special thanks to Jeff Slawson at WKBW for featuring our project as a local story and giving accessibility a spotlight in the community.

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