Gently stroke this drum

The silent drum is played with your hands. It acts as a midi device by analyzing the movement of the rubbery black drum head. As you can see in the photo, one side of the body is clear and the other is white. A light shines up into it to boost the contrast and a camera picks up the black head as it moves past the white side of the shell. [Jaime Oliver] has provided an interesting look at the analysis method used with this instrument and there’s also a system of notating a composition for future performance. See and hear it played in the demo after the break.

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Automatic pneumatic drum kit

Move over Steve and PEART… there’s yet another robotic drummer in town. [Fauzii] tipped us off to his own MIDI-controlled creation – WizardFingers. According to him, WizardFingers is already capable of 64th note rolls at over 250 beats per minute. That’s on every drum simultaneously. Each drum is hit with a lever attached to a linear pneumatic actuator. A laptop running MAX/MSP generates MIDI sequences, which are sent to Doepfer MTC64 board. All of these actuators are hooked up to the board, which sets them off in sequence.

[Fauzii] ultimately hopes to develop AI software that will allow WizardFingers to compose its own tunes on not only a drum kit, but bar chimes and an organ as well. His site documents the whole concept quite well (just watch out for wild cats).

Auto-drummer

Mix a cup of mechanical engineering with a dash of drum set and you end up with Steve, the robotic drummer. We know that it uses an MSA-T Midi Decoder but that’s about the extent of what has been shared. Just from observing the video, we think Steve’s got a few things going for him when compared to PEART, the robot drummer we saw back in 2005. Steve features two sticks for each drum and symbol and seems to be quite responsive.

Steve’s great, but we still think Rick Allen’s got this thing beat. Although this is a quality build, there’s no replacement for a human that can bang the drum in millions of subtly different way. That isn’t to say we don’t see potential in the hack. Perhaps it’s time to update a classic idea, the robotic orchestra.  Don’t know what we mean? Check out  3:58 into the video embedded after the break.

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BBox MIDI drum sequencer

bbox

We’ve covered sequencers before, but reader [Johan] sent in his latest project that is much more minimalistic approach. Dubbed the BBox, he based his drum generator on an Arduino and an LCD display. Rather than synthesizing sound, the Arduino just outputs MIDI which is then interpreted by his Roland Juno-D. In building the device he used a favorite trick of ours to keep the interface clean. He then found an awesome banana box to use as a case. Although, the project may not be as functional as some of the others out there, it certainly has flair. Video of it in action after the break.

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Rock Band drum set remake

We’ve seen some impressive mods for the popular video game Rock Band, from new cymbals to an air powered kick pedal, but we cant say we’ve seen someone go as far as the folks over at EDrums. They start off making their own mesh heads, a junction box to connect everything, and then a base to hold it all together. It is definitely some dedication and hard work for a setup that will only be used in the living room in front of the T.V. Check out some more video of it in action, and a comparison to the original Rock Band drum set, after the break.

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Automated drum

snaredrum

A team of three PhD students constructed this ‘multi-mallet automatic drumming instrument (Madi)‘. Their Expressive Machines Musical Instruments site is dedicated to building instruments like this and they recently showed their work at the first annual Guthman Musical Instrument Competition. A ‘low-stakes X Prize’ for musical instruments. 25 applicants were chosen to show their unique musical instruments for $10K in prizes. We like the team’s Madi because it’s adapting a traditional instrument and then pushing it to the limit. It reminds us of the Crazy J mechatronic guitar from 2005. You can see a video of the Madi playing below.

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Rock band kick pedal

drumwithpedalmod

[Raphael] sent us this nice kick pedal mod for Guitar Hero: World Tour. After breaking his kick pedal repeatedly, he decided to build something a bit more robust. He went to the music store intending to pick up a cheap kick pedal to start with and happened to start a conversation with an employee who had a practice pad to get rid of. [Raphael] relieved him of his practice pad and promptly made a base to hold it in position. After attaching his piezo sensor to the back of it, he had a very robust kick pedal. we can’t imagine him breaking this one any time soon.