Meet CymBot, the cymbal drumming robot. CymBot emulates a drummer’s arm in order to consistently strike a cymbal, allowing a user to lay down a beat or to run multi-day reliability tests. Collaborating with Zildjian, I spent a few months perfecting a robot that a large team at Tufts had put together, focusing on software and component reliability.

As soon as I had the robot running smoothly, I recruited a couple of my musically talented friends to see how CymBot faired during a jam session. (Thanks to guitarist Matt Mueller, and lead vocalist Anneli Hershman). I wrote a few lyrics and hummed a rough ditty, and let the talent take over.

Check out the first hit single from 2/3 Human:

Tech Specs

The robot was built on the National Instruments myRIO platform link, an awesome FPGA computer (Field Programmable Gate Array chips allow the core processor to be rewired to improve software efficiency. For example, I ran the PID control loop for the robotic arms on the FPGA, decreasing loop time substantially).

Two reversible DC motors were used to control both the shoulder joint, and the elbow joint. In the future, I would love to add a third, wrist joint, in order to control the drumstick angle at time of hit.

Check out this video for a walkthrough of the Cymbal Robot:

Header photo © Sam Woolf 2016
Icon photo © Sam Woolf 2016