Robots Are Playing It For Themselves

The release of the game Guitar Hero II seems to have been greeted with enthusiasm by a wide range of musically-oriented individuals; Joseph Pisano gives it a review on his blog, and is impressed by its addictive rockability. Rafael Mizrahi and Tal Chalozin have taken their interest to another level by creating a headless android that can play the game for you.

The robot they created uses two mechanical arms to play the Guitar Hero interface (which, appropriately enough, is in the form of a guitar). The right hand features one moving digit for strumming, and the left has five moving fingers (literally – no thumbs required). An image feed from the Playstation II is processed by a program which detects the correct ‘notes’ to play. This is done by analysing the brightness levels of various sections of the display. The robot’s movements are appropriately delayed to compensate for the latencies involved – the time it takes for the Playstation to recognise a fret button push is about 100ms.

In other robot guitar news, Saadane Afif has created an installation of thirteen guitars that play themselves when you walk by. According to the gallery blurb, this is what it’s all about:

“His pieces, vibrating with multiple meanings, function by using collusion as their driving force. He employs objects, scale models, installations, sounds, and writing to classify the unclassifiable and mirror-in the work of art itself – the dialog that arises between the viewer and the artist. This dialog is continuously fueled by various allusions and is infiltrated on every side by historic, psychological, social, and cultural elements.”

CDM has a slightly different way of expressing their interpretation of the installation:

“…he puts 13 guitars in a room and they play mysterious, ethereal strumming sounds as you walk through, a bit like a minimalist haunted Guitar Center.”

If you would like to develop your own interpretation of Saadane Afif’s Power Chords, then pop over to the exhibition’s info site and check out the pictures.


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