Watch this amazing bot band rock out before destroying their instruments

Robots aren’t only coming for our jobs, they’re going to spend a great deal of time entertaining us, too, if the latest work from musician Nigel Stanford is anything to go by.

The New Zealander has just released an incredible video showing a band of industrial robots knocking out a tune on an array of instruments. And in true rock ’n’ roll style, they even smash them up at the end.

The track, Automatica, is from Stanford’s forthcoming album, Automatica — Robots vs. Music. Record label Sony Music says the work “raises the question, just how close are we to fully AI robots performing instruments and blending in with normal, everyday human activity?” Pretty close, according to Stanford’s efforts.

Stanford, whose music has been picked up in the past by both NASA and the European Space agency, came up with the idea for his bot band in 2015 following the success of his groundbreaking Cymatics – Science vs. Music video featuring an exhilarating blend of music, art, and physics.

Using several machines from industrial robotics systems company Kuka, Stanford set about programming them to play the drums, piano, and guitar — as well as perform a few turntable tricks. The musician shut himself away in his garage for a month, and through trial and error gradually learned how to get the robots to produce the kind of sounds he wanted.

Stanford made a note of seeing the project through by himself, without any outside help.“”I do all of the programming,” Stanford said, adding, “I think it’s important to come at the scientific aspects from the perspective of a musician.”

The video is beautifully shot, though toward the end the robots pull a Frankenstein move and turn on Stanford, smashing up the instruments in spectacular style — though not before tossing the Kiwi a guitar so he can close out the track.

Keen to see more? Then check out this short behind-the-scenes video showing Stanford in the early stages of creating his robot band.

Similar efforts

Other bands consisting entirely of automatons include, for example, Z-Machines. Created by a University of Tokyo IT professor and a mechanical designer in 2013, the Japanese three-bot band featured a drummer with six arms and a guitarist with 78 fingers.

Another robot group, Compressorhead, was created in the same year by Berlin-based artist Frank Barnes together with Markus Kolb and Stock Plum. Also made up of three androids, Compressorhead is still going strong and has a new album out in November.

Music

From Jay Rock to Saba, these are the 50 best albums of 2018

We've spent the year listening to new albums, digging deep, and culling our master list into 50 favorites. From blockbuster releases to hidden gems, these are the best albums of 2018.
Digital Trends Live

Guitarist Dweezil Zappa on future projects and advice to young musicians

We chatted with guitarist Dweezil Zappa on the advice he would give to young musicians, if there is new music in store for next year, and what has the been the most memorable moment on his current tour.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Delivery robot meltdown, Sega Classic, and Dweezil Zappa

On episode 38 of Digital Trends Live, DT's live morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Adrien Warner explored the biggest tech stories of the day. On this episode: A robot on fire, the Sega Classic, and an interview with Dweezil Zappa.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.
Emerging Tech

MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

Researchers have developed a 3D-printed capsule which can monitor patients' vital signs, transmit this information to a connected device, and release drugs in response to symptoms.
Emerging Tech

‘Crop duster’ robot is helping reseed the Great Barrier Reef with coral

In a world first, an undersea robot has delivered microscopic coral larvae to the Great Barrier Reef. Meet Larvalbot: the robot "crop duster" which dispenses coral babies on troubled reefs.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
Features

Cities looking to get smart take a lesson from an iconic shopping mall

From Disney World to the Mall of America, public venues are becoming microcosms for smart city projects. We dove into both, to show what government officials can learn – and what you can expect from your city.
Photography

Forget painting-style transfers, this A.I. creates realistic portraits of fake people

Do these images look computer-generated? Nvidia researchers recently published a paper on a new variation on style transfer artificial intelligence that's able to generate entirely new portraits.