Friday, September 14, 2007

2006 Drummers tune in to robot rhythm

Drummers tune in to robot rhythm

Movie Camera
  • 16 May 2006

Drum machines have done drummers out of a lot of work, so a robot percussionist might be expected to pile on the misery. But not Haile. Its developer, Gil Weinberg of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta claims it will help drummers rather than hinder them.

See a video of the drumming robot in action here (.mov format).

Haile uses its wooden arms to play a Native American powwow drum, facing a human drummer and striking the opposite side of the same drum. The robot detects the rhythm, loudness and pitch of the player's drum pattern and perfectly mimics their actions.

Haile then improvises by dividing, multiplying or skipping beats. "This creates variations of the user's rhythm while keeping the original feel," Weinberg says.

Weinberg now plans to use genetic algorithms to modify the beats in real time, to come up with new patterns.

From issue 2551 of New Scientist magazine, 16 May 2006, page 27

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