Every now and then, something so genius pops up that delights and moves. That happened when I was perusing boing boing the other day.

Roland’s venerable TR-808, the drum machine that gave us the boomin’ bass of early hip-hop, has been recreated as a robotically controlled analog installation by Moritz Simon Geist. Yes, a digital instrument has been given an analog-digital makeover. Kind of like a modern day band organ.

Using Ableton and Max, as well as a couple Arduino micro-controllers, the MR-808 attempts to bring what he calls ‘haptics’ and latencies into a digital performance. A kind of swing that often gets digitally mimicked, but is now built into the system as each robot must respond and react to the signals it is processing.

He has posted some extensive behind the scenes photos and diagrams of how he put it together. Go give it a look!



All pictures are copyright Moritz Simon Geist