American acoustic guitar manufacturer Taylor Guitars has announced a smart battery box called TaylorSense that monitors the health and environmental conditions of an acoustic guitar via a series of on-board sensors, sending the data to an app on the owner’s iOS device, such as an iPhone.
The TaylorSense smart battery box, which replaces the standard 9-volt battery box in any acoustic Taylor guitar, houses sensors that monitor the condition of the guitar and communicates via low-energy Bluetooth to the free Taylor Guitars iOS App. TaylorSense is calibrated to issue alerts and notifications, addressing some of the common concerns guitar owners face: humidity and temperature extremes, potentially damaging impacts and the battery status of the guitar’s pickup system.
Extended exposure to low or high humidity levels can compromise the playability and tone of an acoustic guitar, even leading to serious damage. Dry conditions can cause the wood to crack, while wet conditions can cause glue joints to fail and the finish to lift.
The TaylorSense battery box features a digital hygrometer that monitors the humidity level of the guitar. If the levels remain too low or high for an extended stretch, you'll receive a humidity alert and a link to information on how to remedy your guitar's condition.
Similarly, heatwaves and cold snaps threaten an acoustic guitar, as prolonged exposure to high heat – e.g. leaving the guitar in a car on a hot summer day - can cause the glues to soften and the bridge to come loose under the string tension. A guitar moving from extremely cold to hot conditions in a short period of time can also damage the wood and the finish. The TaylorSense monitors the temperature of the guitar. If the temperature becomes dangerous, an alert will be sent to the iOS app.
Battery alerts are also provided, to help the owner avoid the awkward experience of having the pickup system battery die mid-performance on stage. When the battery life goes below 30 per cent, an alert is sent, with another alert when the level hits 10 per cent. Battery life can also be checked any time via the app.
Finally, the TaylorSense system alerts the user when their guitar has received a significant impact, such as when travelling on planes. All impacts are recorded and date-stamped, with the weight force of the impact expressed in grams. Users then know exactly when and where the impact took place and the guitar can be inspected for damage at the earliest opportunity.
"I've been making guitars for more than 40 years now," said Bob Taylor, Taylor Guitars co-founder, "and one avoidable thing we've seen in our Repair department over that time is damage - damage caused by temperature, humidity and impact. We've preached protection, proper care and awareness of the warning signs of imminent guitar damage and now with TaylorSense a player will know when their guitar is experiencing distress and, importantly, how to remedy it, through a robust selection of video care tutorials."
The free Taylor Guitars App presents the data from the TaylorSense smart battery box in a series of easy-to-follow screens and delivers push notification alerts to the iOS device's home screen. Each notification includes a link to "how-to-fix" tutorial videos to help the owner provide proper care for their guitars.
In addition to integrating with TaylorSense, the Taylor Guitars App also features a tuner, a metronome and Sonoma Wireworks' FourTrack songwriting and practice tool.
The TaylorSense smart battery box is scheduled to go on sale during Q2 2016.