A cry for help

Now that’s a drum machine

A couple of geeks at the University of Louisana have created a robot drum-set — drums that drum themselves. They hooked up a bunch of actuators to the various components of a kit, then wired it to accept MIDI inputs. There’s information on how it works here, and some mind-melting video of it in action here. They call it PEART — Pneumatic and Electronic Actuated RoboT — in honor of Neil Peart, the histrionically hyperactive drummer for Rush. I’d love to see this thing pulling off some of Peart’s 128th-note high-tom rolls from one of Rush’s barely-listenable albums, like Grace Under Pressure.

Maybe for their next project they could design a virtual Geddy Lee, using some ultrahighpitched acoustic device that emits notes seven octaves above high C and knocks sparrows dead out of the air.

(Thanks to Incoming Signals for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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