‘Popcorn’ On Robotic Glockenspiel

This is a little off topic, but an impressive DIY Project.

James Cochrane created this robotic glockenspiel and programmed it to play the Gershon Kingsley synth-pop classic, Popcorn

Technical details:

The robotic glockenspiel  contains 8 servos Hitec (HS-322HD and HS-422), Arduino UNO, MIDI shield and Adafruit’s 16 channel I2C servo driver. \

4 thoughts on “‘Popcorn’ On Robotic Glockenspiel

  1. Great fun and well done!

    I love the speed & precision of the robot’s motion.

    A couple of ideas:
    – It doesn’t look as though the timing compensates for the movement required for the robot to move the mallet to the correct position. That shouldn’t be too hard to correct for.
    – I was hoping for some completely inhuman high-speed playing towards the end 🙂

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  2. Of course it’s very clever and inventive, but what is really the purpose?
    Each hit is the same, thus no expression.
    The motors of the robots moving can clearly be heard.
    Building this thing or trying to learn how to play it yourself, which would be more viable?

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    1. “Each hit is the same, thus no expression.”

      Glockenspiels, like harpsichords, are not generally considered to be particularly velocity sensitive instruments. One of the advancements of the fortepiano was that it was particularly velocity sensitive.

      However, despite this common observation, yes, both instruments are in fact slightly velocity sensitive and experienced performers will take advantage of this property for expressive means.

      This particular design does use full servos for the strike velocity component of motion, and therefore with this hardware design it is in fact possible to encode velocity sensitivity.

      This, and timing delay compensation as was mentioned above, are likely and reasonable adjustments to the design for the next revision.

      Personally, I enjoyed this work and am thankful to the designer for publishing the specific details of his hardware as that gave me a head start to trying it myself – parts are ordered and en transit. Should be fun.

      Of course there are always bellyachers who love to hate on cool stuff, but there’s nothing that can be done about such sad people except feel sorry for them. :_(

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