We are the Robots: Shed hack will create robot orchestra

Lead image for the news story 'We are the Robots: Shed hack will create robot orchestra'

All you need is a love of learning to take part in the We are the Robots hacks at The Shed.

The Robotic Orchestra is a citizen engineering project to mark Manchester’s year as the European City of Science. Its first foray into collaborative robot making takes place at the Shed this Wednesday and Thursday, with two hack days designed to liven up the school half-term.

“We’re collaborating with engineers, makerspaces, schools and musicians to create a recycled robot orchestra that will play together this summer,” explains Erinma Ochu, who with professor Danielle George is running the orchestra project. “Hopefully [from these events] we will have a first prototype for the robot orchestra that others can learn from and build on.”

Organised by Digital Innovation and aimed at 14-19 year-olds, the events will see Ochu and George joined by Damian Fleming and Steven Flower from Hive Manchester, Mick Chesterman of EdLabs MMU, and Steve Summers from Noisy Toys.

Working in teams, the challenge for the hack will be to design and make a robot to be part of the robot orchestra. There’ll be plenty of help on hand at the all-day events: Fleming and Flower will be running an activity using the electronic building blocks LittleBits Chesterman will be showing how to make music using the live coding synth SonicPi and Summers will be helping participants to build simple sound circuits to create amplified instruments.

Says Ochu: “Participants will learn how to make electronic music through code; make sound machines from simple circuitry, using old computer parts; and learn to create a synthesizer from scratch.”

No previous knowledge of working with Sonic/Raspberry Pi or LittleBits is needed to take part in the workshops – just a desire to learn and, of course, a love of robots.

We are the Robots takes place at The Shed, Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 February, 10.30am-4pm. For more information and to book tickets, click here