Entertainment

Ranjit's Lev Robot Plays the Theremin

Posted 4 Oct 2007 at 13:12 UTC by Rog-a-matic Share This

In an inspiring yet painful example of just how far robotics technology must advance to reach an acceptable level of life-like behavior, Lev, the Theremin-playing robot, tickles the radio waves with a pair of stepper-motor-driven wands. Granted, musicianship is probably the most challenging area of human emulation and not likely to see an aceing of an artistic Turing test anytime soon. The Theremin, if you don't know, is an electronic musical instrument played by the waving of hands - one to control pitch, and one to control amplitude (Volume). Theremins are great at creating those eery sounds found on horror and Sci-Fi movies such as The Day the Earth Stood Still, and by musicians such as Led Zepplin's Jimmy Page (but not the Beach Boy's Good Vibrations as commonly thought). Lev is named after the Theremin's Russian inventor, Leon Theremin, and was built by art/tech wiz Ranjit Bhatnagar. The song in this video shows off Lev's talents while reminding me of a failed presidential run several years back. A Moog Etherwave is the machine being used.


Theremin sensors, posted 4 Oct 2007 at 15:53 UTC by steve » (Master)

And if you needed a more direct connection to robotics than Gort from the Day the Earth Stood Still, there are ThereminVision sensors for mobile robots that we reported on a while back. These are cool little sensors that work on a the same general principle as a Theremin. They're like IR proximity detectors but sense the density and capacitance of surrounding marterials rather than light.

The Forbidden Planet, posted 4 Oct 2007 at 22:43 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

There another movie that's famous for Theremin music too. You have to crank the sound when you watch it! Krell punk bands rock!

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