A Robotic Band With a Wiimote-Wielding FrontmanS

In what may be a precursor to the hippie/robot showdown we've always hoped for, musician Patrick Flanagan has founded Jazari, a three-piece robotic drum circle with some impressive grooves. If that's not fun enough, it's all controlled by two Wiimotes.

Last week we looked at Marv, a robotic vibraphone that banged out an impressive rendition of "Flight of the Bumblebee." This week's robotunes come courtesy of an ensemble.

Flanagan wields two Wiimotes to control the rhythm, volume, and pitch of the three different drums. The D-pad determines which part of the drum is struck (and thus the sound it makes) while turning the Wiimote side to side controls the tempo of the notes and pointing it up and down controls their volume. Other buttons allow Flanagan to record loops on the fly and manipulate those patterns live.

Flanagan's software even allows the other drums to analyze the grooves he's creating and improvise their own patterns, though he doesn't spend too much time talking about this capability. I think, as frontmen often do, he likes the control. [PopSci]