Friday, June 20, 2008

Robot clarinet wins international competition!

"To make a pleasant noise... is a very difficult task."
--Dr. John Judge, NITCA/UNSW senior research engineer and project leader

"We won the competition because the clarinet is a difficult instrument to play."
--Dr. John Judge

"You have the same problem as human clarinetists do, which is how to stop it squeaking."
--professor Joe Wolfe, School of Physics, UNSW

Don't worry, you're not going to be competing with robots at your next audition just yet. This robot clarinet won a different type of competition--the Artemis orchestral competition, in which contestants must create devices that play real, unmodified musical instruments. Built by a Australian team from the University of New South Wales, the robot will now be used to research the gestures of human clarinetists.

Although an excellent guitar robot created by another team was a close second, the clarinet team won the contest due to the extreme level of difficulty involved with automating the clarinet. You always thought the clarinet was the hardest instrument to play--now we have the evidence!

For a more in-depth look at the robot clarinet and its creators, check out this mini-documentary.

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