OffBeat

Watch 8 flying drones jam on keyboards, drums, and guitar

Above: One of KMel Robotics' drones plays the keyboard in a demonstration video.

Image Credit: Video screenshot

File this under “pointlessly awesome:” a couple of roboticists have created a band out of flying drones.

The eight drones hover over their musical instruments — keyboards, drums, a one-string guitar, and even a bank of bells — and play the notes by swooping and diving at precisely the right moments.

KMel Robotics created the demonstration to show off the capabilities of its six-rotor drones.

The company’s two founding engineers, Alex Kushleyev and Daniel Mellinger, spent two years programming the drones to pull off this stunt.

“Music is really just playing a series of notes at the right times,” said Mellinger, demonstrating that he is both an amazingly capable engineer and also that he is totally missing the point about what music really is.

Still, with the ability to communicate with the drones and adjust their positions 100 times per second, the team is able to make the drones swoop and strike the instruments with amazing precision and speed.

The robot band plays their two drum kits, four keyboards, 20 bells, and a gong simply by dropping into position and striking the instruments at the right moments. A one-string guitar is played by two drones: One to fret the string, and the other to pluck it.

A couple of years ago, the team programmed drones to play the James Bond theme song using a less-sophisticated setup, and got over 3.6 million views. The new band is faster, plays music more naturally, and has a repertoire of three songs instead of just one.

The company published its latest robot music video to YouTube last week.

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