Wish you hadn't been so quick to give up violin practice as a kid? You may never get to turn back the clock, but retired engineer Seth Goldstein is showing that there's still hope of reliving those musical ambitions through technology. He recently showed off Ro-Bow, a kinetic sculpture that uses robotic fingers (specifically, electromagnetic actuators) to play digital music files on a real violin. While the machine won't have concert performers rethinking their careers, it's probably better with a bow than you were way back when -- it can handle a fast Irish jig as well as a slow, sentimental tune like "Amazing Grace." The Ro-Bow hardware would have to shrink and get a bit of polish to be useful as more than an art project, of course. All the same, it's proof that you don't have to run a giant technology company to build a reasonably adept robotic musician.
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