Who Needs Musicians? ‘Vibratron’ Robot Makes Orchestra Music
By James Mulroy
Do you remember the other day when I mentioned that robots are taking our jobs? Not only can they pitch, but as you are all probably aware they can also play music. Not all robots play the violin or the trumpet, but this robot, called the “Vibratron,” plays a number of vibraphone keys. In other words, who needs a vibraphone player when you can have a robot that’ll hit the beat every single time thanks to its circuits?
The Vibratron was created by the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Club after they received $1000 in grant money and a donated vibraphone. It’s also a part of a larger project, the RobOrchestra, in which the club hopes to create robots that play themselves and work together to create their own music and form a full band.
This particular robot works by dropping steel ball bearings onto keys in a particular order to create music. The keys are aranged in a circular array, and even though this may not be the most effective method of robotizing the vibraphone, the robotics club wanted to create a unique piece of art.
If you watch the video (above), you’ll see that the robot has three main systems: one that drops the balls onto the keys, another that collects the balls, and finally, the artisic structure of the robot itself. What’s really cool is that the robot uses an Archimedes screw to bring balls to the top for use. It’s also based on an Arduino board (oh, how I love Arduino), earning it some additional geek cred. To get the full details check out the Vibratron and the RobOrchestra here and here.
I have to admit that this robot is pretty awesome, but if they keep making robots and computers that can potentially replace everyday workers then you may be out a job someday. All hail the our computer overlords!