Robotic arm for drummers – new flavor of beats

Robotic arm for drummers – new flavor of beats

A third, robotic arm for drummers can listen to the music and add creative beats of its own! Using microphones and sensors on the drums, the robotic arm knows what the beat is, and can automatically adjust speed and complexity, or shift to ¾ time. Then it uses an algorithm to improvise.

All started quite simply (and tragic). Drummer Jason Barnes lost his arm in an accident. So the scientists decided to help him play by building for him a robotic prosthesis. They added some extras – like superhuman speed and the ability to improvise. In this moment they realized, that way of playing and creating music changed.
Gil Weinberg, founding director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology said:

I think this can hopefully inspire the drummer to think about music and play music in way that he or she wouldn’t otherwise. That’s because we have this principle we call ‘listen like a human, but improvise like a machine.

A third arm for drummers is attached at the shoulder. It uses camera to know where it is in space, so it never miss the drum. It also observe the human arms move. When the drummer moves to the snare, the robot moves to the tom, and vice versa. The lab is also working on an EEG headband that will communicate the drummer’s thoughts to the robot, so it knows in advance when the music is going to change.

Robotic drummer third arm uses a complicated algorithm based on fractals and genetic algorithms. It crates sophisticated processes that require complicated computation – the kind of thinking that humans are not likely to think. The outcome is completely different way of improvising. According to scientists, the same technology could also be used on other instruments — or in different fields.

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