April 21, Valencia, CA--Robots are taking over. Beginning this month, Boy Scouts can earn a badge in Robotics . In Japan, nuclear cleanup crews use robots  to enter hazardous reactor units. At California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), in Valencia, California, robotic musical instruments interact with their creators in the KarmetiK Machine Orchestra .
Currently, students and faculty are turning junkyard salvage into musical robots for a concert extravaganza on May 12 at 8 p.m . on the CalArts campus—transforming CalArts' Walt Disney Modular Theater into an immersive audio-visual installation. The event takes place at 24700 McBean Parkway Valencia, CA 91355. Admission is free; reservations  are required. For information call 661.253.7816.
Combining intriguing high-tech entertainment with practical applications of cutting-edge research, the orchestra brings together one-of-kind robotic instruments with human performers using modified instruments and unique human computer interfaces.
“In contrast to digitally driven music that renders the performance essentially invisible,” noted Wired.com, “the (orchestra) serves as a case study for bringing visual panache to machine music.”
At the concert, musicians performing with robotic instruments on stage and suspended from the ceiling will trigger sound activated lighting and animations. The event will unveil three new instruments, including NotomotoN, a duel-head drum with twelve beaters and a mallet orchestra.
The work of musician, researcher and educator Dr. Ajay Kapur revolves around the question: “How can computers improvise with humans?” To answer this question, Kapur, and co-director Michael Darling, launched the KarmetiK Machine Orchestra. The orchestra has a symbiotic structure determining how humans and robots function together. Robots can be programmed to perform music as well as receive commands from instruments played by human musicians. The machines in the concert will interact through different variations of direct control, programming and generative systems.
To build the instruments appearing on May 12th, the students in Robotic Design for Music & Media have acquired a spectrum of Information Age skills ranging from mechanical engineering, robotics, and human computer interaction to artificial intelligence, theatrical design and musical composition.
CalArts is an acclaimed Los Angeles-area institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs in the visual and performing arts. The KarmetiK Machine Orchestra is a project of the Music Technology: Interaction, Intelligence and Design (MTIID)  program at the Institute’s Herb Alpert School of Music and the School of Theater’s Technical Direction Program.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE KARMETIK MACHINE ORCHESTRA’S INSTRUMENTS AND PERFORMANCES.
More information and links to videos press coverage:
KarmetiK Machine Orchestra
KarmetiK video trailer
Meet the Bots Press Release, March 2011
Machine Orchestra Press Release, May 2010