Robot Clarinet

I’m at the MediaConnect Influence event again this year (they must have forgotten what happened last time I was here) and the opening keynote is by the CEO of NICTA. Dr John Judge from NICTA is also here showing off their robot-controlled clarinet which won first place in the ARTEMIS Orchestra competition in Athens a couple of months ago.

The robot’s “mouth” uses two servomotors that apply force to the clarinet reed to make a sound. The smaller servomotor mimics the action of the human tongue, while the second applies a damping force to the reed, copying the action of the human lip. Force is applied to the clarinet keys by brass plungers with rubber or nylon feet depending on the key. “It is conceivable that in the near future, we could see an entire orchestra made up of computer-driven instruments like this clarinet,” said NICTA Chief Technology Officer Dr Chris Nicol, “They will interpret a musical score and follow a conductor.”

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