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Robot Drummer has Plenty of Rhythm

by Paul Strauss

This little yellow robot does one thing really well. He likes to play drums. What’s funny about the little guy is that he likes to play music on just about any surface other than an actual drum.

Yellow Drum Machine Robot

The Yellow Drum Machine drives around the room looking for things that might make an interesting sound when tapped on. If he likes what he hears, he starts going to town with a little riff. Once he’s bored, he moves on, looking for something else to make noise with.


As the ‘bot drives around, he avoids obstacles until it detects an object that looks like it might be a nice musical surface, takes some audio samples, and if he finds the sound to be pleasing, composes a little matching rhythm using the original sound sample and plays a little song.


Created by robot hacker

[Let’s Make Robots via MAKE]

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Comments (47):

  1. What a wonderful toy!!!
    Could I buy it?!?
    How does it cost?

  2. nik says:

    hahah, now that’s one awesome robot! really clever idea you had, when you constructed him :D
    i can imagine how it would look like to have half a dozen of these roam around, just design a guitar / harp one and you have your own little robotic symphony ^^

  3. ITrush says:

    Very interesting, how about some little jammin’, I love music too… :) Stumbled!


  4. Thats a pretty cool little robot.

  5. Michael says:

    That is sooo cute!!!!!!!!!!! Gimme!

  6. Pope says:

    Well, I must say, that is awesome. Maybe future bands will set this thing loose and write down what it does for music. Better, get rid of the annoying drummers who always show up to practice late. Hehe. Overall, awesome, and I want one. Whoo.

  7. technabob says:

    ITrush, thanks for the Stumble!

  8. Jared says:

    If i were a robot, i would be this robot… Period.

  9. Jared says:

    I am a Jared too, and I agree.

  10. fritsl says:

    Hi all, thank you so very much :)

    It is actually quite easy to build robots of this kind yourself, so you do not have to buy one – of course this one took a whole weekend, but you can make robots that are cute and fun in just 2 hours if you like.

    I have made instructions on how to, on letsmakerobots.com (under “first robot”)

    Thanks again, very inspiring comments, thanks :)

    / fritsl

  11. Teedious.com says:

    So cute – this little guy would be an absolute riot to have around!

  12. andy cutbirth says:

    science is a powerful tool.I t ca be used for good or evil,it depends on the person wielding the tool. But this is just ridiculous

  13. manchicken says:

    What fun. Makes me want to buy my kid a drumset. If a robot can do it, surely a baby could do it.

  14. Kelly says:

    What a cute little robot! Nice to see people being clever and creative instead of just zoning out in front of the computer like me…

  15. Sam says:

    “If a robot can do it, surely a baby could do it.” ??
    Can your baby examine volcanoes, build cars, check the safety of nuclear reactors or survive landmines? …If the answer to any of the above is yes, you’re awesome :P

  16. haiamehs says:

    nice, you’ve been stumbledupon. :)

  17. technabob says:

    Stumble is my friend. Thanks for the thumbs up!

  18. Chelsea says:

    That little dude is GREAT! If i was a toy manufacturer, or any manufacturer for that matter,I’d totally produce these for you! In kits of course, cause robot kits are tons of fun!

    by the way; manchicken and bob: of course babies can do all those things! they just dont always survive it…

  19. random.user says:

    I also stumbled my way here, i love that little robot and feel like we’ll be seeing more of his sisters and brothers really soon. in a big way.

  20. Rebekah says:

    This is just adorable. I like its “eyes” that even move rhythmically. Really clever. I can imagine that if you knew the basics this wouldn’t be a phd-level project either. Imagine if Honda or another top robotics company got working on something based around this….

    People say robots cant be creative. Everyone knows that a drum track from a computer, digital drum pad or keyboard etc is never as good as a real life drummer in the flesh.

    But this combines creativity. Taking inspiration from things it picks up around itself. It can make music it hasn’t already got programmed into it, which would be unique to whichever environment it is in!

    This is just great! Well done fritsl, its things like this that keep me Stumbling!! (even the way it has to be pushed in the right direction now and then gives it character :D like a puppy or a toddler!)

  21. colin says:

    This thing is really awesome. Absolutely made my day seeing it, lol

  22. Eliezer says:

    Wow… really impressive… how’d you come up with this, this is genius! I Stumbled here and I’m glad I did.

  23. SirStick says:

    Thats really cool, and amazingly inventive! Now it just needs to be able to be able to smile when its finished!

  24. peter says:

    Excellent work. Any chance of putting the plans online?

  25. Robot says:

    “As the ‘bot drives around, he avoids obstacles until…”

    really? looks like he runs right into them

  26. robin says:

    if you look up the word “awesome” in a dictionary, this is what you find.

  27. Dave says:

    At human scale this is pretty cool. If you were a kitten it would be a horrible, mocking bully; beating you while making festive music from your sampled laments! ;)

  28. MyaloMark says:

    Regarding your request for anyone who might be interested in mass-producing these:
    I worked for Hasbro for a few years and was amazed at the unworkable condition of many of the inventor-submissions that came our way.
    Your robot works from the get-go, which is a real plus.
    It is quite expensive though. The toy industry’s list of priorities begins with product safety foremost, but cost follows as a close second. If the profit margin is too slim, your toy will never be produced.
    If you really want to sell your idea, get yourself a lawyer who has worked with product introduction before. If your idea is good enough, he should work on spec. He’ll be getting a big chunk of the money when you get paid, but he’ll also keep you from getting robbed.
    If you do go ahead with seling your robot to Hasbro, or any other toy company, don’t expect to see your toy on the shelves really soon. When it does (if ever-toy companies aren’t beyond buying a toy just to bury it so the competition doesn’t get their hands on it) get produced it will be cheaply made, with far fewer extras than your model. Cost is everything, as I said.
    If you get turned down by the big boys, just remember that there are quite a few small toy concerns out there who can actively compete with the Mattells and Hasbros of the world simply because they don’t have the same overhead as the biggies.
    In my time in the industry, I saw winners and losers. I would give your little robot an 80 – 85% chance of success as is. Good luck, and remember that opportunity only knocks once.

  29. user says:

    That’s some pretty crazy stuff. I’m most curious, however, about how the robot “finds the sound to be pleasing” and how he composes his little tunes.

    Is this built into the sound recorder, or is it custom code?

  30. Drums says:

    Too funny. The next member of Stomp! Should be painted blue and sold to The Blue Man group.

  31. user says:

    It has to be entirely controlled. Including the drumming just shot to look real. Scientists have tried to make robots capable of moving around the environment but takes forever to just take pictures and compile the info to just move a little then has to repeat the process.

  32. Lee says:

    I’d go with what MyaloMark said, and also check with SEGA, they are putting out a ton of automatons/robots as toys, and very likely have the parts on hand to put something like this together. good luck!

  33. yay says:

    This would go well with Keepon. http://beatbots.org/

  34. technabob says:

    Now I can’t get that Spoon song out of my mind.

  35. paresh says:

    great, thanks for sharing.

  36. somedude says:

    Want. This thing would be an amusement for hours; I’d run all over the house finding things for it to play! Stumbleupon is awesome.

  37. Necro says:

    Awesome, now make a black metal one! :>

  38. El Duderino says:

    Best Robot EVER!!

  39. Impressed says:

    That brought a smile to my face-I love it. I have a passion for robots and that was really entertaining.
    I’m wondering how much of the beat is “improv”? Different tempos? The thrill for me is when it stops beating, backs up and then you hear the beat through the speaker. Like he was savoring the past moment.

  40. will says:

    VERY COOL! Tweeted and Stumbled!

  41. andrew says:

    “user” could be the dumbest human on the face of the planet. They make autonomous robots for IEEE contents and university engineering students work the algorithms and the hardware. It doesn’t take “pictures” and analyze that way. They use lasers range finders and radar to take a “picture” and move.

  42. sunil kumar says:

    heyy it,s really a wonderful robot………..with u r permission can i name this robot as”yellow king”

  43. sunil kumar says:

    its an nice robot da….with u r permission can i name this robot as “yellow king”

  44. dude says:

    Coolest. Thing. Ever.

  45. jpople says:

    I would buy ten of them and just let them roam around my house constantly.

  46. Soraya says:

    That’s the cutest robot I’ve ever seen! Very clever invention..

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