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And now, a robotic orchestra performs the Doctor Who theme

robotic orchestra plays Doctor who

During the annual Christmas Lecture at the Royal Institution in Great Britain, a robotic orchestra plays Doctor Who, accompanied by a few humans.

In honor of the new season of Doctor Who, which promises a new opening sequence and music, we looked back at one of the more interesting takes on the theme.

Back in 20014, as part of the annual Royal Institution Christmas Lectures broadcast in the UK on BBC Four, fifteen robots accompanied a handful of humans in performing the theme from Doctor Who. Because why not.

The Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures are an annual tradition in the UK that began back in 1825 when scientist and inventor Michael Faraday began to offer an annual lecture, open to the public. Each Christmas Day the tradition continued until eventually it was broadcast nationally, first on radio and then on TV.

The themes change each year, and according to CNET this year’s theme was “Sparks will fly: How to Hack your home.” It was hosted by Professor Danielle George, an electrical engineer from the University of Manchester. The lecture focused on robotics.

Given the Doctor’s frequent run-ins with deadly robots, it’s a nice change to see a mechanical being celebrate the character rather than trying to murder him/her.

“Inspired by the Royal Institution’s very own Michael Faraday, Prof. Danielle George attempts to use simple motors to construct the world’s greatest robot orchestra,” the Royal Institution’s website states. “In this lecture, Danielle will explain how these robotic and motor-driven appliances work and show how they can adapt to help you kick-start a technological revolution.”

The robotic orchestra is made up of fifteen bots of varying complexity designed and built by groups throughout Europe. Some just smack the odd drum, while others are far more complex and play the keyboards, and even a theremin. If you check out the video, you’ll also see an old printer getting into the action.

The robots play the majority of the instruments, but there are a few humans acting as accompaniment. Soon after the video aired, the robots turned on the humans and killed them all.

Kidding. (Probably).

Check out the video below and enjoy.



Founder and DBP boss. Ryan likes the Kansas Jayhawks, long walks on the beach, and high fiving unsuspecting people.
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