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Zivix LLC: Educating and Empowering Musicians with Electronic Instruments Featuring Maxim Battery Management ICs

Zivix is changing the musical landscape, one electronic instrument at a time. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the company aims to inspire, educate, and empower musicians by making it easier to learn how to play an instrument and create music. Its Jamstik+ and Jamstik 7 app-connected smart guitars have sensors in the fretboard, allowing users to see their fingers on a screen in real-time via the Jamstik companion apps—instantly removing the guesswork and barriers that come with learning to play.

The portable format makes the Jamstiks great travel guitars, and users can even play silently with a pair of headphones plugged into their mobile device. Because the Jamstiks are also versatile MIDI controllers, they are compatible with hundreds of music apps and digital audio workstations (DAWs). So once players learn the basics, they can use their new guitar skills to create and record music with virtually any sound they can think of. “It’s exciting,” Bobcat Cox, the company’s chief technology officer, says of working at Zivix. “We are getting people involved in learning music in a simple and approachable way.” Users don’t have to find their way to their lessons, or explain to their teacher why they didn’t practice. Zivix’s instruments provide a self-paced, self-guided approach with instant feedback.

Challenges

  • Create guitar application with long battery life and accurate battery state-of-charge (SOC) data

Solutions

Benefits

  • Faster design prototyping
  • Longer battery life
  • More accurate battery SOC data
  • More accurate detection of user interaction with guitar

Zivix’s newest Jamstik is a battery-powered, MIDI-capable electric guitar that will allow guitarists to produce and record music seamlessly with MIDI.

Challenges

Before long, Zivix recognized a demand among more seasoned guitar players to have a MIDI output connected to their instrument. The company is now developing a full-size, battery-powered, MIDI-capable electric guitar. To create this new device, Zivix has four key challenges to overcome:

  1. Be able to charge the instrument’s Li-ion battery via USB and drive the indicator LEDs without requiring the microprocessor to be on
  2. Allow users to charge the guitar while using it
  3. Provide accurate battery life data
  4. Be able to hand-solder the chips into their design via pins on the side

Solution and Benefits

Cox and his team evaluated battery-management and power-management ICs from various vendors, and determined that Maxim chips would meet their stringent criteria. In addition, the team appreciates the support from the Maxim applications engineer, who helped guide them to the right parts for their design. For their new guitar application, Zivix is using:

As the Zivix team works on developing its guitar MIDI controller, the Maxim applications engineer continues to provide support, quickly reviewing schematics and answering questions before prototyping. “The Maxim team has saved some mistakes that would have led to extra prototyping cycles,” said Cox. “With the battery management and power management ICs in our design, we expect our finished guitar will have long battery life and provide accurate data on remaining charge.” And with this, Zivix will continue to educate and empower musicians of all skill levels.

bobcat-cox

“The Maxim team has saved some mistakes that would have led to extra prototyping cycles. We expect our finished guitar will have long battery life and provide accurate data on remaining charge.”

- Bobcat Cox, Chief Technology Officer, Zivix