Inventor builds LEGO droid orchestra – and it even plays John Williams’ Star Wars theme

5 September 2019, 16:38 | Updated: 5 September 2019, 16:39

By Helena Asprou

London-based musician and inventor Sam Battle built the futuristic orchestra using LEGO droids and real musical instruments – and you can hear John Williams’ iconic movie theme, loud and clear.

We’ve seen many an orchestra in our time, but this guy has just invented an ensemble built entirely from musical instruments... and LEGO droids.

In the video (see above), London-based musician Sam Battle demonstrates his quirky creation – and it’s all been inspired by that classic film franchise, Star Wars.

Made up of 95 LEGO droids – including 46 LEGO R2-D2 droids, 26 Mouse droids and 23 Gonk droids – as well as 42 real instruments, it’s certainly not your average orchestra.

Driven by the touch of an iPad button, the “droid” orchestra has been programmed to be self-playing, with the all the LEGO placed in the right way to affectively play the instruments based on computer instructions.

Taking him a total of 3,148 hours to make, the incredible contraption features xylophones, violins, cellos, keyboards, cymbals and floor toms, and there’s even a few electric drums, gongs and chimes thrown in for good measure.

And just in case you were thinking his invention couldn’t possibly get any cooler, the droid orchestra actually plays John Williams’ epic film theme to Star Wars.

Sam Battle’s LEGO droid orchestra
Sam Battle’s LEGO droid orchestra. Picture: Sam Battle

How does it work?

To get the instruments moving, Battle explains: “The synths were MS10s and MS20s, I had most of them already, I borrowed a couple and they just look nice in a row.

“All of them monophonic, but between each synth was a tiny bit of overlap, the levers were pivoted in such a way the keys were quite light to push for the Gonks. This was a very solid setup that worked without fail every time.”

He continues: “The R2-D2s on the xylophones tended to drift, so before each attempt all of their heads needed to be reset to a centre point so the beaters would hit in time. I ended up doubling up the R2-D2s so their out of time nature wouldn’t be as noticeable (two droids on each note means more of a chance it is in time).

“The violins needed re-setting each time, luckily the song only needed three different notes from the violins, so four violins per note (and two for the least used note).”

Battle’s epic orchestra features 95 droids and 42 musical instruments.
Battle’s epic orchestra features 95 droids and 42 musical instruments. Picture: Sam Battle

Battle, who has spent many years performing in bands and is also known to his online fans as LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER, first became interested in setting himself unusual projects in 2016.

The LEGO droid orchestra isn’t his only creation – the young innovator has built several other futuristic-looking instruments, including a Furby organ.

Yes, that’s right, an actual organ made from fluffy, electronic toys.

Here it is, in all its glory:

Great work, Sam – we look forward to seeing what you invent next!