Musicrobot playing the Clarinet: NICTA made first prize at automated music contest


Oh, cute little clarinet.

The Artemisia Association is organizing an automated-music contest for technical students every year to demonstrate to what embedded systems can do in context of instruments. Unfortunately I haven't heard of this before, but now it will move onto my radar. Very interesting works were created during this contest, which is a good sign. The frontier of music and robots is beginning to move forward.

The winner of the contest this year was a team from Australia. The most impressive skill of this musicrobot is speed. It played the "Flight of the Bumblebee" from the Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The mechanics playing the clarinet are driven by pneumatics. This is somehow a logical step, because you also need to push air into the clarinet to generate any tone. Also look at the blinkenlights on the controllerboard that drive the mechanics. The guys at NICTA said, that the most difficult part was the design of the mouth for that device, in order to push in the air correctly.

The robot’s "mouth" uses two servomotors that apply force to the clarinet reed to make a sound. The smaller servomotor mimics the action of the human tongue, while the second applies a damping force to the reed, copying the action of the human lip. Force is applied to the clarinet keys by brass plungers with rubber or nylon feet depending on the key.

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Tags: music, indoor, contest, homebrew, how-to, pneumatic
Jul_04:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

How to make Pneumatic (Air)-Muscles

Yay, this are interesting news. At instructables a tutorial was posted about pneumatic muscles. There you learn how to build yourself an air-driven muscle. Look how funny they move and the incredible sounds they make!

Pneumatic Muscles, or Air Muscles are simple, cheap and extremely powerful. Applications range from machinery, robotics to wearables. Air muscles have no stickction and have a weight to strength ratio like no other linear actuating mechanism. It's weakness is in speed.

Read on at instructables.

Tags: how-to, homebrew
Jul_02:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Kiva Systems Robots: Ballet Dance of the Nutcracker

Kiva Systems is building robots for warehouses, that have one the mission to fulfill. Support people at the last mile between virtual ordering of goods, for example via the internet, and the deliveryman.

The robots are connected by a wireless network and receive ordering information. Then they collect all necessary wares to bring them to the desired station. In other words: they are smart. Busy bees and friendly co-workers.

The people at Kiva let them perform a dance. How do you call this? Ballet? Well, I would love to see this creatures perform like this, when they got nothing on their mind. Not long ago you called this standby. Also read this article on Eggshell to get the basic idea of what I mean.

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Tags: smart, swarm, modular, co-worker, work, dance, friendly
Jun_30:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Details of Ranjits Tension-Guitar

I discovered a little detail on the, let's call it tension-guitar, that Ranjit Bhatnagar build. With his project Moonmilk Ranjit is if not the leading, at least one of the most interesting people who build and play self-made instruments. I am not sure, if this technique is also used at his artbot that we reported about.

The tone-height is controlled by a mechanical element, that pulls directly at the string. Anyone, who tried to pull a string like this by hand, will know that you need very much strength to do so. The magnetic-driven coils have to have this power. A microcontroller maps the notes into positions of the coil that holds the string. I think also another design would be possible - with indirect manipulation of the tone-height, but that eventually would maybe harder to design, to build or to control.

Tags: music, video, detail, indie-labs
Jun_26:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Fun with water: Water Bubble in Zero Gravity Space

There is one element on earth, we are very familiar with: water. But how often we try to play out new things with water? Ok, you will need zero gravity to do this here, but at least this is a really interesting inspiration. Look how water behave in zero-gravity. I can't tell myself, but I seen things like this very often at generative graphics, reactive forms and other "natural physics" coding. But I'll bet you don't know how a water bubble in space behaves, when it hits a fizzy tablet. The third part of the video will show it, so watch till end to find out.

One other interesting things with water is the cornstarch-innovation. This really kicks some ass!

Tags: physics, space, water, play
Jun_18:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Beluga spinning rings of air in the ocean


A precise shot of air

One thing I like most about robots, is the possibility to make things in the physical world that are impossible to do so for humans. This is based upon the fact that - in theory - every physical constraint can be disappear by accurate constructing of certain body parts.

This one here for example would require tons of practice for a human to do so. It is a video of a Beluga (Weißwal), that blows rings of air into the ocean. They are beautiful to look at and not less than the counterpart for having rings of smoke in the air. Anyone already constructing this? Make it a friendly underwater cannon! (Here is another video)

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Tags: motion, nature, constraints, theory, unterwater, outdoor, research
Jun_18:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Atmospheric Robotplanet: Tension by Aenima

Shortfilm producers and the demoscene are always good for getting impulses on how robots could look and act like. They are somehow like the elongated arm of science fiction writers. We also find much robotic stuff in productions made for children.. in us, like rocking cartoons or tv-series. Maybe we should also name music videos.

The following piece is a athmospheric work from the demogroup Aenima. They works cross the border to shortfilms and have a decent quality. This movie Tension evokes a vision of strange and strong robot-characters and I especially like the robot-guy without any real face. Really, really strong type. But beware... the video contains much more scenes without robots, than actually with them. At least this does not narrow the experience.

Tags: movie, demoscene, artificial-life, music
Jun_15:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

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