An automatic recorder-playing instrument. An on-board air compressor drives the air flow, controlled by a solenoid valve, into the recorder. Solenoids control elastic bands that open and close tone holes. Developed in 2014-2015.



A harmonium from the 1890’s that was rejuvenated. Solenoid mechanisms actuate individual pitches while stepper motors operate the bellows. The project began in 2015 and is currently being developed.


P. Carvalho and N. Hughes (2016). Automated HarmoniumMusical Robotics Practicum.


Cyther is a human-playable robotic zither. By integrating robotic actuation into a human-playable instrument, agency becomes amorphous and distributed as performer and machine interact through a shared medium. A human performer and the machine are able to fluidly move between the roles of impulse and filter. v1 and v2 were designed and built in 2015. The development of v3, which adds self-tuning mechanisms to the instrument, began in 2016.


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.

E. Prihar (2016). Dynamic Tuning String Instrument. Major Qualifying Project.


Experiment in Augmentation 1 (2017) – Scott Barton

Dreams of Massachusetts (2017) – Ben Taylor

Human-Robot Improvisation: Cyther (2016) – Scott Barton