Watch this robotic ukulele player pluck out some lovely tunes

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I know that a ukulele is no zither, but I wonder how well the roboplucker could handle Anton Karas’s theme from The Third Man.

Here it is performed on guitar:

(I really love that movie and its soundtrack.)

Edit - I should have known that if I dug deeper I could find it performed on the ukulele:


Yes, the ukulele is being played by a robot! It sounds like a first-year student, though. The use of RC servos limits the speed of the plucking, and it sounds like the software hasn’t been written to allow for nuanced timing of the plucks, to give the music ‘character’.

It might be possible to program this setup to make more soulful music, but the servos don’t offer much control over the plucking rate. Perhaps a few days poking at the firmware would liven it up a bit.


That’s a terrible use for a ukelele. It should play Hawaiian music.

Give them time, I’ll bet in five years you won’t be able to tell the difference between a human playing and an evolved roboplucker playing.

Well done! That’s more accomplished than anything I’ve ever done with actual moving parts.

I can only see this project advancing to stage two – the fret housing on rails with servo motors to move it up and down the fretboard etc. Faster plectrums. Work on some classic uke tunes… etc.

Great start! Keep going!

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