An MIT Alumni Association Publication

DIY Robotic Xylophone Performs Holiday Classics

  • Amy Marcott
The NerdKits xylophone, mounted on a transparent acrylic sheet. Credit:

If you had a nice time geekifying your Thanksgiving, you'll be glad to know that the good folks (read: alumni) at NerdKits have found a way to extend the nerdiness far into the holiday season. How? With an official NerdKits robotic xylophone that performs, of course, holiday classics. And yes, you too can make one.

The project requires cutting out a series of aluminum alloy bars that have to be supported with machine screws and washers and then adjusted to obtain proper frequency. You'll also need a lathe to manufacture your own solenoid forms (coils wound into tightly packed helixes) and steel slugs, and you'll need to put together shift registers, an SPI bus, and some circuits. Click here for more detailed instructions.

If all of this sounds too good to be true, check out the video below.

[vodpod id=Video.5062345&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26]

NerdKits is the brainchild of MIT alumni Humberto Evans ’08 and Mike Robbins ’08 MNG ’09. The two started the organization as a way to "lower the barrier to entry into [electrical engineering]" and share their theoretical and hands-on MIT experiences in classes like 6.002 (Circuits and Electronics) and 6.170 (Laboratory in Software Engineering).

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