Written by IEEE | August 12, 2016 | Updated: March 30, 2017
The music industry has always revolved around creativity and the ability to produce new sounds and ideas. It is becoming increasingly evident that robotics is playing as large a role in our music as it is in many other aspects of our lives. Well-known artists and bands throughout the years have created music around how new technology is “taking over” — the Buggles took this direction with their hit “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Others have taken a more direct approach to acknowledging robotics as a growing source of intrigue, such as Styx in “Mr. Roboto.” Now, decades after those songs topped the charts, the impact of robotics is larger than it ever has been before.
Jukedeck, the 2015 winner of TechCrunch Disrupt’s Startup Battlefield in London, is a company that uses complex algorithms to create songs with very little music knowledge needed. The company’s artificial intelligence music composition technology only requires users to select the genre, tempo, and length, and the system will create a completely unique song that the user can copyright for an additional fee.
Another area of music where robotics are being used is in the recording studio. The Panda Studios in Fremont, California have created their own robot “intern” to adjust the microphone placement in front of an amp while recording to find the best possible angle for the proper sound. The robot microphone is controlled from the recording booth using a joystick similar to those found on gaming console controllers, and covers nearly every possible angle.
To complete the trifecta of conceptualizing, recording, and playing music, robotics has also been leveraged for live performances. Robots in real time includes things like prosthetics to help people drum, robots that can change internal mouth pressure for trumpet players, and even full-sized rock bands where every instrument is played by a robotic counterpart. Events like these definitely raises some questions on just how far we can push robotics into the music industry.
Check out our interactive Robotics Map to learn about various robots around the world.