Georgia Tech Interactive Musical Robot Will Be Featured At 2011 Pulse Art & Technology Festival

SAVANNAH (26-Jan-11) - Georgia Tech Savannah is proud to be a sponsor of the 2011 PULSE: Art & Technology Festival created by the Telfair Museums and will host a series of lectures, performances and workshops during the nine-day event. Dr. Gil Weinberg, founder and director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, will conduct a lecture and performance at the Jepson Center on Friday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. The performance will feature an interactive marimba playing robot named Shimon that was recently featured in the nationally televised 2010 Georgia Tech PSA (see link below). Attendees will have the opportunity to interact and make music with Shimon after the performance.


Shimon is not an ordinary marimba-playing robot because it improvises and interacts with human musicians. Using melodic and harmonic perception and improvisation modules, Shimon creates musical responses in conjunction with social cues from its human counterparts. The result is not only novel and expressive human-robotic interaction, but also great new music.

Visualize a pianist playing a musical phrase followed by Shimon, who builds on this input with a new improvised sequence. A fellow guitar player can then enhance Shimon's ideas, leading to new responses that could inspire humans to play in ways they have never played before. The robot's head provides visual cues that represent social-musical elements, from beat detection through tonality, to attention and spatial interaction. Just imagine the head bob of a jazz drummer or a DJ spinning a hip hop record and you have a picture of Shimon's personality.

Weinberg conceived the concept of robotic musicianship in 2006 with the development of Haile—the world's first robotic musician capable of improvisation with human musicians. His research focuses on expanding musical expression, creativity and learning through innovative new technology including cell phones, toys and aquariums. Weinberg's interactive systems have been presented in museums such as the Smithsonian Museum, Cooper-Hewitt Museum and Boston Children's Museum. Weinberg received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT and is currently an associate professor of Music and adjunct professor of Computer Science at Georgia Tech.

"The goal of the project was to create real-time musical collaborations between human and robotic musicians that would capitalize on the combination of their unique strengths," said Weinberg.

Georgia Tech Savannah will also be hosting aditional workshops:

Youth Workshop: Introduction to Scratch

Saturday, Jan. 22 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Georgia Tech Savannah.

Developed at the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create individual interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art and share creations on the web. As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively. Students between the ages of 9-18 are encouraged to attend.

Technology Expo/Family Day

Saturday, Jan. 29, 2-5 p.m at the Jespon Center

Bring the kids to make magnetic LEDs and see demonstrations by PULSE artists: Adam Matta with his audio bicycle wheel, Ranjit Bhatnagar's amazing instruments and Tim Jackson's "Scribble Scrabble Sketchbots". Local school robotics teams will demonstrate their creations under the coordination of Georgia-Tech Savannah.

For more information about PULSE. 


About Georgia Tech Savannah

The Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked the 10th best engineering and information technology university in the world by the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings and seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities, Georgia Tech has more than 20,000 students and is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Georgia Tech Savannah campus offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in mechanical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, and electrical and computer engineering.

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