15 Oct 2009

Robotic Musical Instruments

From Our Changing World, 9:06 pm on 15 October 2009

Ajay Kapur playing sitar and MahaDeviBot

Seven years ago, Ajay Kapur walked into his professor's office and saw something that changed his life. With an engineering and musical background, he came to the blinding realisation that his two passions could be combined.

Ajay Kapur is not your usual scientist. He is the director of Musical Technology at the California Institute of Arts and also lectures in Sonic Arts at the New Zealand School of Music. His work revolves around one question: "How do you make a computer improvise with a human?".

Using microchips and sensors, he has built robotic instruments which can be programmed to perform along with human musicians.

Ruth Beran went to meet Ajay Kapur and one of his robots, a 12-armed solenoid-based drummer called MahaDeviBot.

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