• Mario Leyva
  • Amaan Malik
  • Kevin Pho


We wanted to build a robotic arm that can complete the same tasks a human arm can. We then saw a video of a robot playing the piano so we thought what if we make a robot that could play the drums.

What It Does

This bot makes you feel the rhythm and dance to the beat.

How We Built It

The robot utilizes a base, including two towers (aluminum extrusions) as the support and stabilizer. Then we utilize two shafts to allow for rotation, which simulates the movement of a shoulder joint powered by a high torque motor. We also allow for additional movement through an elbow joint, powered by a servo. Lastly, we use another servo to allow for the flicking of the stick onto the drum plate.

Challenges We Ran Into

We initially tried to design a shoulder joint that would allow for 2 DoF. However, we realized that this would be really hard to design and implement, and tried to make our entire design a bit more simple to realistically design and build in the 19 hours.

Accomplishments That We're Proud of

The number of joints introduces a new level of mechanical complexity for our team, and the multi-staged nature of human arm locomotion allowed for asynchronous, parallel path generation.

What We Learned

We learned how to brainstorm designs and modify them accordingly to fit with our constraints, especially in terms of materials. We have made simpler robotic arms before, but this project pushed the limit on the degrees of freedom.

What's Next for SkullHouse Rock

We plan on extending the degrees of freedom and adding more arms. Additional modalities to the system are planned. For example, the usage of a microphone or audio file (on a Raspberry Pi) would allow us to take an audio input to perform Fourier analysis to have it autonomously play to a beat. The usage of a speaker could allow us to simulate an electronic drum kit. A camera could allow us to detect gestures (i.e. raise volume), or an accelerometer could help with pose estimation and impact detection. For aesthetics, a rocking "head" or RGB LED strip (audio-reactive) could be made to this flexible project.

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