Percussive aerophones are configurable, modular, scalable, and can be constructed from readily-available materials. They can produce rich timbres, a wide range of pitches and complex polyphony. Their use by humans, famously by the Blue Man Group, inspired us to build an electromechanically-actuated version of the instrument in order to explore the expressive possibilities enabled by machines. The Music, Perception, and Robotics Lab at WPI has iteratively designed, built and composed for a robotic percussive aerophone since 2015, which has both taught lessons in actuation and revealed promising musical capabilities of the instrument.
Sundberg, K., Barton, S., Walter, A., Sane, T., Baker, L., & O'Brien, A. (2018). A Robotic Percussive Aerophone. Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, 409-412. https://digitalcommons.wpi.edu/humanitiesarts-pubs/1
*denotes a WPI undergraduate student author