Guy tries to create a ‘robot trombone’ and it sounds hilarious

12 January 2021, 19:29

Robot trombone
Robot trombone. Picture: YouTube / iSax Laboratories

By Kyle Macdonald

A robot to play one of the most unwieldy and challenging brass instruments. Find out if things took a slide...

With a mouthpiece that relies on a pair of lips to create vibrations, along with its fiendish slide, the trombone has long been considered one of the more demanding instruments to get a well-pitched sound out of.

iSax Laboratories, in true YouTuber fashion, seem to fancy a challenge in their workshop. With the brass instrument to hand, they set about making a robot to play it.

With plenty of air pressure gauges, pneumatic cylinders, and a pair of silicon lips (we won’t ask), it all looks very steam-punk and impressive.

They called it the RoboTrombo (that’s a cool name). All seems promising so far – so how about the actual sound? Watch below...

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While it’s fair to say RoboTrombo won’t be belting out Wagner’s Lohengrin Overture anytime soon, it’s still very entertaining.

The process of the robot’s creation is an interesting one, from air sources and pistons to the all important blowy bits.

The creator said their original idea was to produce a MIDI controlled machine, which could be programmed to blow any song – however, they then conceded that this was too difficult to create.

“When a human trombone player produces a tone it is a combination of lip tension, pressure against the mouthpiece, airflow, air pressure, resonance in the mouth and probably some other variables. The lip part proved too hard to recreate,” they said.

“The machines will not take over the trombone-plying profession any time soon and I'm left with an over-engineered noise machine.”

So trombonists can blow a long sigh of relief. It appears that the robots are not coming for their jobs just yet.

Still, this was fun. Subscribe to iSax Laboratories on YouTube for more intriguing projects.