Articles / Tech and DIY

Forget AR... The Future of Theremin Playing is Robots!

Here's a new video of an agile-looking robot, iCub, playing the theremin.  The audio output of the theremin is fed back to the robot to enable it to make real-time pitch adjustments.  It certainly does a better job than cats, eh?

iCub isn't the first 'bot to belt a tune on a 'min... Here are a few other earlier attempts:




And for good measure, here's the project I worked on with fellow grad students back in the day. 

While all of these make for fun demos, the fact remains that none of them even come close to Clara Rockmore's level of proficiency with the theremin.  I'm sure that with enough effort, the technical ability of any of these robots could be improved dramatically.  But could any of them ever perform with the soulful grace of a human thereminist?  Would we want them to?