This Robot Plays the Ukulele Better Than You Do

Playing instruments is hard; guitars have a least six strings and 22 frets, pianos have like a thousand keys, and nobody even knows where you’re supposed to put your hands on a saxophone. Learning to play any one of those competently can take years, and requires frankly unreasonable patience and dedication. If you’re a maker, it might be easier to just build a robot that can play for you, like this one that can rock a ukulele almost as well Israel Kamakawiwoʻole could.
UkuRobot was built by a maker in Poland who is, at least for now, remaining anonymous. The details are sparse on how exactly it works and what components are being used, so we just have to guess based on what’s visible in the video. That appears to begin with an Arduino Nano , which controls a total of 16 hobby servo motors. Four of those are positioned close to the ukulele’s bridge and pluck the strings. The other 12 press on the frets with some sort of cable-actuated mechanism.
It doesn’t look like the fretting servos can move up or down the neck, which means this is most likely limited to the first three frets of each string. But, even with only 16 individual notes available, including the four open strings, a lot of music can be played. There are YouTube videos of UkuRobot playing The Godfather theme, Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” and my personal favorite: the haunting Requiem for a Dream theme.

This content was originally published here.