Plant-Reactive Robots Play Bamboo, Chinese Instruments at Royal Botanic Garden, Scotland

THREE PIECES sound installation from Ziggy Campbell on Vimeo. Digital music is extending more deeply into the physical world, thanks to sensors and robotics. The result: gorgeous acoustic sounds as part of the lexicon. When we last spotted Simon Kirby and the Found Electronics collective, they were taking the tangible interface out of electronic music and applying them to ambient sampled sounds out in the woods. Now, they’re talking to plants and channeling traditional Chinese instruments. Found Electronics: Three Pieces Project Page Simon writes with some of the details:

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Video: The Trons, All-Robot, Self-Playing Band

Perhaps fueled by YouTube comepetition, robotic instruments are looking more and more impressive. What I’d most like to see: a robotic battle of the bands. The latest creation comes to us from the all-robot band The Trons, based in New Zealand. They have cute names, and I bet the ‘bots are more fun to date than some, ahem, real drummers my friends have gotten involved with… The crew: Ham (vox and rhythm guitar), Wiggy (single string lead guitar), Swamp (drums), Fifi (keyboards, one hand working!) Hmmm, basically true of my keyboard playing, as well. And here’s their blurb: The Trons …

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Yellow Drum Machine Robot Creator: You, Too, Can Make Your Own Robots

If music technology has ever made you dream of autonomous musical robots, crawling around the floor making sound like a Juilliard of mechanical insect prodigies, I’ve got great news for you. While we’re on the subject of DIY electronics, here are some words of encouragement: the designer who made that fantastic drum machine robot making the rounds on the Web says he’s got a day job, and you, too, can do what he did. Yes, you. First, check out the autonomous, banging-on-stuff and sampling drummer robot pictured above, if you haven’t seen it yet: Robot Drum Machine Roams, Samples, Bangs …

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Robot Drum Machine Roams, Samples, Bangs On Stuff

This has been making the blog-o-rounds, but if you haven’t seen it, the Yellow Drum Machine is a brilliant musical robot — brilliantly musical, and brilliantly simply technologically. (There’s something to be said for elegant design.) It rolls around, looks for objects nearby, bangs on them, and samples that sound. (Hmm, it’s like a little robotic equivalent of me around my apartment.) As seen on MAKE. The specs are terrific: Cost to build: $120 Time to build: 20 hours Actuators / output devices: 6 geared motors in total, 2 speakers, sound sampler Control method: autonomous (very) CPU: Picaxe 28 Operating …

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Video: Robotic Theremins, Ready To Replace a Human Near You

Just in case mastering the subtleties of playing a Theremin isn’t hard enough for you, you’re in luck: you can master the subtleties of building a robot that has to then master the subtleties of playing the Theremin. Sarah Angliss, a human Thereminist in the UK, sends us this video of a creepy doll robot playing the Theremin. (If you’re prone to the jeebilies, you may not want to watch. Sarah writes, “I’ve posted my latest jam with Clara 2.0, the theremin playing robot doll, on YouTube. Hope you enjoy watching her talents (or lack of them).” (Technical details after …

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Robots Can Be Friendly, Groovin’: Max-Powered Keepon and Beatbots

The Keepon is a cute, yellow robot that dances to music you may have seen bopping on YouTube. It shows how subtle changes could make robotics friendlier in the near future. Foremost among those changes: show a little skin. By wrapping the robot’s armature with soft, rubber skin, the Keepon is both squeezable and more lifelike. (After all, how many people / pets / creature friends do you know who don’t have a skeleton and skin? Yes, you with the pet beetle, you’re an exception.) Second, and earning the Keepon YouTube fame and glory, the BeatBots know how to shake …

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Robot Drummers, Compared: Like Musicians, Robots are Better When They Listen

We’ve seen robotic Guitar Hero players and robotic guitars as art installation; now, one last set of robots for the week — robotic drummers. The Motoman robots take up taiko drumming at a 400-year-old festival in Japan. An impressive display, but you may immediately notice they lack a certain … something. (That something is definitely not creepiness, for the robotophobic. ‘Motoman’ bot shows it’s got rhythm [Cnet Crave Blog] What you won’t see here is anything truly live or interactive. For that, Georgia Tech trumps the Japanese engineers, with the robot Haile, which we first covered nearly two years ago. …

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NYC: Rocking Robots, They Might Be Giants

They might be … robots. Yipes, they might be Cylons. Cylons look like us now! Run! Robosonic Eclectic: Morton Subotnik, They Might Be Giants, and robotic musical instruments on the same bill? That … doesn’t happen very often. But it does happen this weekend, starting tonight. With a lineup that includes They Might Be Giants, JG Thirlwell, Mort Subotnick, George Lewis, R. Luke DuBois and J. Brendan Adamson, Lemurplex is kicking off what looks like a really packed couple of weeks of music and research into new instruments here in New York this weekend. Check out the TMBG video and …

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