14 - Cybraphone: interactive robot band advent calendar

Cybraphon: the interactive robot band

Professor of Language Evolution Simon Kirby is the co-creator of a robotic band that reacts to social media attention

In today’s world of smartphones and social media, it’s easy to get caught up in how many likes you get on Facebook or how many followers you have on Twitter.

For many of us, how others perceive us affects our emotions. We can get immense satisfaction from people’s reactions to our posts or conversely, we might also feel sadness or rejection when this fades.

Simon Kirby and Ziggy Campbell capture this idea in the form of a robotic one-man band. It changes the mood of the music it plays according to how much attention it gets on social media.
In November 2009 their robot band ‘Cybraphon’ won a Scottish BAFTA in the Interactive category.

The software driving the robot’s brain is designed by Professor Simon Kirby himself.

“The whole idea was that it would be based on a modern pop band – it would be completely self-absorbed”

– Ziggy Campbell,
Found Electronics

Simon and Ziggy are part of ‘Found Electronics’ which explores building interactive, sound focused installations.

About Simon Kirby

Simon Kirby is the Professor of Langauge Evolution at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include the origins and evolution of language and also bridging science and art practices.

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