The way a Georgia Tech professor produced a automatic drumming arm

Gil Weinberg
Gil Weinberg

Photograph by Josh Meister

A couple of years back, Georgia Tech professor Gil Weinberg been told by local drummer Jason Barnes, who’d lost his right arm after being electrocuted but desired to play drums again. So Weinberg’s team built a prosthesis that may hold not merely one drumstick but two. Afterward Barnes grew to become a weekend sensation among the world’s fastest drummers. Weinberg then wondered, “Why not everybody?” Go into the brand-new “smart” arm, a 2-feet-lengthy artificial appendage that attaches to some drummer’s shoulder. Drum machine, meet your match.


Weinberg’s team authored a code to process exactly what the automatic arm senses. A number of algorithms controls where it moves, how quickly it plays, so when it reacts towards the drummer.


With different drummer’s movements, the automatic arm can enjoy various areas of the package. Centered on the hi-hat? It’ll take part in the ride cymbal. Playing our prime tom? It’ll cover the ground tom.

With feeling

States Weinberg, “I hope robots will really help humans create new types of music which makes you cry, laugh, or send shivers lower your spine.”

No time at all

The 3rd arm isn’t just smart it’s fast. The planet record speed is 1,208 strokes each minute. The brand new arm can sustain near to that speed as many encores when needed.


With an formula, the robot learns exactly what the drummer is playing and responds accordingly. “If you play a classy rhythm, it may answer you,” Weinberg states.

What’s next?

Weinberg wants the arm to respond to a drummer’s ideas. His team has become researching steps to make the automatic limb react to a percussionist’s brainwaves with an electroencephalogram (EEG) headband.

This short article initially made an appearance within our June 2016 issue.