World's First Robotic LEGO Band Rocks Out
When we were kids, my brother I constructed cars out of LEGO blocks and ramped them off jumps made from matboard and pillows. The sound of the cars exploding into dozens of pieces as they crashed was almost musical, but no where near as musical as what Giuseppe Acito has done.
The Italian music producer has put together the “Toa Mata Band,” a quartet that includes several small robotic LEGO figures programmed to play various electronic instruments.
Acito used LEGO Bionicle pieces to build each band member. An ingenious system of rubber bands and pulleys connected to the figures’ arms allowed them to play an array of different synthesizers, drum machines and other vintage equipment. The arms are controlled by an Arduino Uno connected to an iPad running Nord Beat, a MIDI sequencer app.
For you music snobs in the audience, stop rolling your eyes. Just because the Toa Mata Band plays covers, don’t think they’re without a few originals. Besides performing pre-programmed material, they can also play “live,” as long as a human engineer is there to add real-time commands to the MIDI sequence.