- Anne Beetem Acker
Mechanical sound-making devices that use some form of programme to direct what the instrument plays. While robotic instruments may be considered mechanical instruments and vice versa, and have a very long history, the term ‘robotic’ is nowadays generally applied to computerized inventions that employ very fast processing power along with components such as memories, controllers, sensors, and cameras, often with wireless connections. Robotic instrument development has blossomed in the 21st century, with independent groups and university programmes acting as incubators. The Guthman Musical Instrument Competition at the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology includes a robotics category. The Robolab programme at Tufts University guides children in building musical robots as a way of teaching science, mathematics, and technology. Typically, the goal of robotic instrument builders is to explore new methods of sound creation and expand performance possibilities, and, for some, to explore interactivity between people and robots. Furthermore, the physical gestures of robotic instruments can be entertaining....