Artist creates a robotic orchestra that lets you conduct an algorithmic symphony with hand gestures.
Moscow-based artist Dmitry Morozov — commonly referred to as ::vtol:: — is no stranger to Bits & Pieces. From creating digitized images from air pollution to cyborg-like instruments, prolific Maker has unveiled some slick Arduino-based designs in recent months that combine both modern music, robotic concepts and a contemporary take on creative art. However, none may compare to his latest project: Nayral-Ro.
Nayral-Ro is best described as an orchestra comprised of 12 different robotic manipulators, each of which equipped with a sound-transmitting speaker and placed onto a podium. When combined, the robotic arms form a single multi-channel symphonic sound. In order to interact with the orchestra, ::vtol:: used a Leap Motion controller to guide the robots and sound through simple hands gestures in the air, just as any conductor would lead an actual symphony.
::vtol:: powered the design using an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560), a modified OWI-535, some servo motors and actuators, along with a 12-channel sound system. As for the software, the Maker turned to the Pure Data language and ManosOSC to turn hand gestures of various heights into both audio and visual control.
When approaching the exhibit, a viewer must only wave their hands as if they were a magic wand to trigger the tiny robotic performers. Nayral-Ro features a algorithmic system, in which sound and musical composition are produced in real-time, while the acoustic environment changes simultaneously with the process of creating the musical piece.
“Due to constant displacement speakers in space, changing direction of the sound and the algorithms for generating compositions, the orchestra creates a dynamic soundscape,” Morozov explains.
At the moment, the piece is on display at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. According to ::vtol::, future iterations are in the works. Perhaps when put into the hands of musicians, this could yield even more symphonic sounds. Intrigued? Learn all about the Maker masterpiece here, or see it in action below.