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Wearable robot to turn musicians into three armed drummers

Wearable robot to turn musicians into three armed drummers
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Scientists have developed a -'smart-' wearable robotic limb that responds to human gestures and the music it hears, allowing drummers to play with...

Washington: Scientists have developed a 'smart' wearable robotic limb that responds to human gestures and the music it hears, allowing drummers to play with three arms. The two-foot long robotic arm can be attached to a musician's shoulder, and knows what to play by listening to the music in the room. It improvises based on the beat and rhythm.

For instance, if the musician plays slowly, the arm slows the tempo. If the drummer speeds up, it plays faster. Another aspect of its intelligence is knowing where it is located at all times, where the drums are, and the direction and proximity of the human arms. "When the drummer moves to play the high hat cymbal, for example, the robotic arm manoeuvres to play the ride cymbal.

As the drummer switches to the snare, the mechanical arm shifts to the tom," said researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology in US. When the robot approaches an instrument, it uses built-in accelerometers to sense the distance and proximity. On-board motors make sure the stick is always parallel to the playing surface, allowing it to rise, lower or twist to ensure solid contact with the drum or cymbal.

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