These music robots, The Hubos, may not be ready to replace The Beatles, but they are hot on the heals of the Blue Man Group.
The HUBOs, from Drexel’s Music & Entertainment Technology Laboratory, are operating autonomously (not human-controlled). Their movements are directed by student-developed software to perform the gestures necessary to produce the appropriate notes and beats as dictated by a musical score. Every sound in the video was performed by the robots.
Three Pieces is a sound installation by Edinburgh-based art collective Found, a group best known for works involving ‘emotional robotics”.
Three Pieces is designed as a collaboration between robots, traditional instruments, and living things, housed in Victorian Palm House of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.
A traditional Chinese dulcimer is played by a robot with many bamboo fingers while the surrounding foliage hides an ensemble of robotic chimes. Despite being separate individuals, the robots communicate and perform together.
The robot performers are ‘conducted’ by the living things in the Palm House. The moisture content of the soil changes slowly as the plants absorb water, while on a much faster timescale, the temperature changes in the building as animals, including humans, move about. The installation detects this living presence in the Palm House and the music changes accordingly. The robots react to humans, but their ‘mood’ alters with the plants.
The work is an interesting synthesis of ideas from ambient and generative music with artificial intelligence and robotics.
Music robots meet the Zapp Band in Patrick Flanagan’s Jazari, caught here at TEDx Grand Rapids:
Patrick Flanagan serves as the token human in the cyborg percussion ensemble Jazari, which fuses African rhythms, algorithmic composition, computer music, and electro-mechanics into beat-driven steamfunk.
Before he began soldering circuits together, Patrick studied composition at Columbia University and the University of Minnesota.
After performing with Jazari, Flanagan discusses cyborg musicianship and the machines and technology behind his band.
Flanagan notes that “his biggest influences are the chin-stroking disciplines of music theory, music cognition, and machine learning,” adding that “these academic fields can grow new vocabularies and tools for fashioning an improbable but weirdly intuitive musical future.”