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Workshop: Making Music with Robots – Build Your Own Drumming Robot!

December 2, 2017 @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Registrations are closed.

Drumming Robot

About the workshop

In this workshop, students will be introduced to the field of musical robotics by composer and instrument builder Troy Rogers, who has been making music with robots himself for the past 13 years. After receiving a short demo and opportunity to interact with the instructor’s own robotic instrument ensemble, students will construct their own robotic drummer: a small tabletop device with two independent striking arms, controlled by an Arduino microcontroller. A limited number of kits will be available for purchase (first come, first served). The kit is open source and expandable, and can be subsequently made into a mobile drumming robot that can be programmed to sense and interact with its environment. This workshop requires no previous experience with electronics, programming, or microcontrollers, and serves as a great basic introduction to robotics, coding, the Arduino environment, and computer music. Students are encouraged to bring their own found percussion instruments (drums, pots, pans, canisters, boxes, or anything else that can make an interesting sound when struck).


No previous experience with electronic music or electronics is required. All needed parts and equipment are included in the price of the workshop and will be provided to participants. This workshop will move at a pace appropriate for adult learners, but children with a strong interest in electronic music or electronics may attend if at least eight years old and accompanied by a parent or guardian.

About the instructor

For over 13 years, composer Troy Rogers‘ creative work has focused on the development and exploration of robotic musical instruments as generators of new musical possibilities. As a musical robot maker, he co-founded Expressive Machines Musical Instruments (EMMI), a group of composers dedicated to exploring and expanding the potential of robotic musical instruments. As a Fulbright scholar, he spent time at the Logos Foundation in Ghent, Belgium working with Godfried-Willem Raes and what is perhaps the world’s largest robot orchestra, where he developed a singing vocal robot, Stemmetje. Living the life of an early 21st century semi-nomadic robot herder, he resides in Duluth, MN when not touring the country in the RoboRig, a mobile platform for the development and dissemination of music for robots. He performs on streets and stages alike as Robot Rickshaw. Rogers is also a committed independent educator, regularly presenting lectures and offering Making Music with Robots and STEAM education workshops at universities, galleries, community art centers, makerspaces, and schools throughout the US.