The Music, Perception and Robotics Lab explores how musical creativity can be inspired by and enhanced through technological tools and understanding of human perception. We build robotic systems and conduct psychological research in order to inspire and express. As we embody and encode those characteristics that we contain and to which we aspire, we recognize our technological and artistic experiments as fundamentally humanistic endeavors.

Robotic Instruments

Cyther

a human-playable robotic zither

PVC Aerophone

an automatic open-tube aerophone

Modular Percussion

automatic modular percussion instruments

Harmonium

an automated harmonium

Recorder

an automatic recorder

Glocky

an automatic glockenspiel

Publications

S. Barton, E. Prihar, P. Carvalho (2017). Cyther: a human-playable, self-tuning robotic zither. In proceedings of The 17th International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. Copenhagen, Denmark. (Acceptance rate: 23%)

S. Barton (2016). Creativity in the Generation of Machine Rhythms. In proceedings from The 1st Conference on Computer Simulation of Musical Creativity. Huddersfield, UK.

S. Barton (2013).  The human, the mechanical, and the spaces in between: explorations in human-robotic musical improvisation.  In proceedings from the Ninth Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference. Boston, Massachusetts.

Perception and Cognition

We conduct research on auditory and musical perception and cognition, with particular focus on rhythm and time. This research purports to both help us better understand our tendencies and inspire our creativity in the generation of technologies and works of art.

Publications

S. Barton, L. Getz, & M. Kubovy (2017). Systematic Variation in Rhythm Production as Tempo Changes. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal34(3), 303-312. 

C. M. Tolleson, D. Dobolyi, O. C. Roman, K. Kanoff, S. Barton, S. A. Wylie, M. Kubovy, D. O. Claassen (2015). Dysrhythmia of timed Movements in Parkinson’s disease and freezing of gait. Brain Research; Volume 1624, October 2015.

L.M. Getz, S. Barton, M. Kubovy (2014). The Specificity of Expertise: for whom is the Clave Pattern the “Key” to Salsa Music? Acta Psychologica; Volume 152, October 2014. (Acceptance rate 21-30%)

C.M. Tolleson, S.A. Wylie, O.C. Roman, S. Barton, M. Kubovy, D. Claassen (2013). Motor timing in Parkinson’s disease patients who freeze. Movement Disorders; Volume 28, June 2013.

People

Scott Barton, Ph.D.

Founder; Director. Scott Barton is an Assistant Professor of Music at Worcester Polytechnic Institute who composes, performs, and produces (electro)(acoustic) music; conducts psychological research; and develops music technologies. His interests include rhythmic complexity in beat-based contexts, stylistic heterogeneity, perceptual organization, (dis)continuity, instrument design, machine expression, human-robot interaction, improvisation, and audio production. He founded and directs …

Karl Sundberg

M.S. Manufacturing Engineering, expected 2018, WPI. B.S. Mechanical Engineering, 2017, WPI. I have been working with Professor Barton and the MPR Lab since 2015, where I got a chance to expand my knowledge of design and manufacturing. I developed a musical robot based off the Blue Man Group that we call the Automated PVC Aerophone. …

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