Felix Machines

„Felix machines“ by UK-Based Felix Thorn is a excessive set of mechanized drums and tonal instruments like chimes or an automated reed organ. It’s electro mechanical (solenoid) driven, and plays pieces by Felix Thorn, we think it’s one of the most elaborate Robot-Instrument-Concepts so far. Interview,

Moritz Simon Geist

The drum robot installation MR-808 is a mechanical replica of the infamous 1980s drum machine TR-808. You can read more about here

[BD594] – Oldschool remixes

User [BD594] is famous for releasing his “Old School Computer Remixes”. The remixes commonly feature a printer re-using the noises made by the step motors, some solenoid driven instruments and one or more oscilloscopes to visualize the sound of the stepper motors.

Björk – Biophilia

For the album „Biophilia“ Björk made a concept involving several custom made Instruments like a huge automatic pendulum harp, a gameleste, and a huge tesla coil sound that we have seen else where. The Instruments were build be a team led by Andy Cavatorta Interview

Expressive Machines

The Group „Expressive Machines“ from the University of Virginia creates music robots with a stress on the technical layout. Robots include two percussive ones (snare, general beater) and a monochord string robot. Made with Arduino, MIDI, Solenoids, acrylic glass. Link


Patrick Flanagan aka Jazari provides an robotic beat setup including several african style beat-bots (Snare, Kick, Djembe) and „an acoustic wobble bot, [and] vocal processing with an Android app [..]“. Patrick has also developed his own Wii-based hand controller which allows him to play his tunes live. Uses Max/MSP, Arduino, TLC5940 link


The Brooklyn-based „League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots“ is one of the most distinguished group of robots instrument artists. Founded in 2000 by Eric Singer they have since then developed a great varity of instruments and sound installations, such as the famous „guitarbot“. LEMUR also development the „Orchestrion“ robots used since 2009 by Pat Metheny Lemur: Link

Blödes Orchester

Michael Petermanns „stupid orchester“ is made from of over 200 pieces of electric houshold equipment, mostly from the 50s and 60s.

Captured! by Robots

Captured! by Robots is a „touring musical comedy troupe“ (WordPress) founded by (and only human band member) Jay Vance. His ironic guitar and DrumBots refer to standard rock-instrumentalists. Link, Interview, Wikipedia


A robotic version of the thousand-year-old Indonesian Gamelan Instrument by Aaron Taylor Kuffner. 170 solenoids, controlled via Ableton Live, funded by LEMUR Link


Karmetik is ramified group of artists, musicians and technicians developing instruments, sound and multimedia installations with a focus on classic Indian instruments (and their robotized counterparts). Their elaborate website contains many detailed info about the different instruments and projects (the have a tabla bot!) Link

Physical String Synthesizer

„The Milwaukee Servoelectric Guitar Project is a volunteer effort to promote the advancement of servo electric guitars and their design“. Several approaches to automatic playing and self tuning string instruments are shown, with detailed info. link

Steve 3PO

Jeremy Bush, drummer of the christian rock band „David Crowder Band“ developed this fully functioning pneumatic drumbot called „Steve 3PO“ with engineers Josh Caldwell and Eli Hernandez. Link

Godfried-Willem Raes/ Logos

„Logos“ is a belgish artist group led by Godfried-Willem Raes, providing more then 50 several robotic instruments like pipes, organs, beat-makers and drums. They also have some of the most detailed technical paper on robotics for musical instruments we have seen so far. Link  Video


Founded at the University of Eindhoven, Team Dare develops musical robots since 2002 with a focus on the technical layout. They also have the only pan-flute robot we know of!


Apart from the usual arduino powered drum-and-xylobots the RobOrchestra Project (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh) has a very neat approach for a vibraphone robot, the vibratron Link

The Trons – self playing band

The heavily featured New Zealand based self playing robot band “The Trons” by Greg Locke is probably the most popular robot-only band.

Link   Video

Festo & Roland Olbeter

Valve supplier FESTO has a sense for upcoming trends and gave Robot art specialist Roland Olbeter free access to Festo’s stockroom. He came out with a nice automated electrical string quartet and one drum, which he presented on Hannover Messe 2008. Video

Pneumatic Band (unknown)

There are rumors of an impressive, pneumatic driven, fully robotic band. Only little Youtube snippets can be found, which are quite impressive.

Old Spice Commercial

Old Spice Muscle Music from Terry Crews on Vimeo.

This „Old Spice“ commercial features a handful of thrown together mechanic robots.

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2 Responses to A not so complete list of robot music instruments and automated instruments

  1. William brayton sagt:

    been working on a highly sensitive robotic drum kit with velocity sensitivity for 3 years. Finishing of the injection molded cases now. Going to have to do a lot of patent research. wondering why nobody is going to market with a plug and play drum robot? definitely been a big inspiration to us .cheers

  2. […] A not so complete list of robot music instruments and automated instruments […]

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