Future by design is what the 75 year old Seth Goldstein managed to accomplish by creating RO-BOW the kinetic sculpture that plays a violin.
Robots are now days involved in every part of our life, even if we realize it or not. Starting with the production lines in our factories and finishing with the appliances that we have in our home (vacuum cleaners, cooking robots,…) robots are here to help us. What they didn’t do until now is creating art. RO-BOW the kinetic sculpture that plays a violin is here to change all that.
This ex-bio medical engineer, with four degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering from the MIT, managed to do in his free time something that, even with the latest technology advancements existing today, seems to out of a Sci-Fi movie.
The old engineer managed to create a robot (a kinetic sculpture as The American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore calls it) that relies on a custom computer program that turns MIDI files into instructions for its actuators, which move four disc-shaped rubber fingers over the neck as well as the cradle carrying the violin’s body. A tilting mechanism rotates the violin so the desired string is always underneath the bow and mechanical fingers.
According to Mr. Goldstein website: ” Vibrato, pizzicato, legato, note loudness modulation, and some other bowing effects are provided. ” Even though RO-BOW can play any note, it might not be fast enough for some songs. The fact that it can play only one string at a time may also be in impediment to singing more sophisticated scores, but you have to not forget the fact that this was built as an art project, designed as a sculpture and not as a practical robot. Below you can see Mr. Goldstein sculpture at work.
RO-BOW the kinetic sculpture that plays a violin is only one of Mr. Goldstein sculptures. You can see below other two original creations by Mr. Goldstein, the WHY KNOT? and the CRAM GUY. The New York Times covered Mr. Goldstein’s story in a wonderful article that you can read here.