International Affairs Student's ‘FretWizard’ Is InVenture Prize Finalist

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The annual InVenture Prize competition celebrates interdisciplinary entrepreneurship and innovation at Georgia Tech. This year, the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts is represented in the competition by Molly Ricks, a junior in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs who helped design FretWizard a novel learning tool for aspiring guitarists.

FretWizard uses artificial intelligence to visualize the fingerings for guitar parts that are written in a popular notation style called tablature. Ricks, who designed FretWizard’s user interface and helps with marketing, was inspired by her personal experience studying abroad in Beijing and struggling to learn guitar alongside FretWizard team leader Ali Abid, a computer science major.

“Our main guitar learning resources were video tutorials and tab websites, which we found to be hard to read and not very helpful,” Ricks said. “This inspired Ali to use his coding skills to come up with a program that would help teach you how to learn guitar on your own.”

Ricks said she enjoys flexing her problem solving skills in her work with FretWizard. Although she learned about user interface design outside of her international affairs classes, she believes many Nunn School students find themselves interested in the intersection of strategy, problem solving, and people.

“I really believe in this project and the impact it will have on people, which definitely drives me to learn new skills in user interface design and marketing that may not be found in an INTA classroom,” Ricks said.

Ricks views the 2016 InVenture Prize finals, which will be held on March 16 at the Ferst Center Theatre, as the culmination of months of collaboration and testing. She is excited to show off FretWizard and demonstrate how novice guitar players could benefit from it.

“This project has the potential to help so many people pursue their passion,” Ricks said. “The whole process of creating FretWizard has really fallen into place perfectly, and we can’t wait to present this idea.”  


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