Screenshot the Bit-52s

Watch robots cover the "World's Greatest Party Band"!

Cover bands of the future: The gears are really turning in this robotic rendition of the B-52's "Private Idaho"



Sarah Gray
March 31, 2014 5:45PM (UTC)

The Bit-52's are back -- this time to promote Art Rocks Athens: How Art Made Music in Georgia From 1975-85. The rocking robots cover the B-52's "Private Idaho." Nothing can really beat the B-52's new wave rock, but these robots are pretty impressive.

Robot band builder James Cochrane re-created the band using a random assortment of instruments and reprogrammed computer equipment. Fred Schneider's vocals use the same technology that helps Stephen Hawking speak, a DECTalk Express. Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson's vocals are created by two HP Scanjet 3C flatbed scanners. Several PIC16F84A microcontrollers operate the guitar, snare drum, keyboard and bass drum. Check out these seriously rocking robots:

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The Bit-52's, a robot cover band of the B-52's, sprung up on YouTube in 2010 with a robotic rendition of "Rock Lobster." According to the builder and programmer James Cochrane (also known by his YouTube username BD594), he was inspired to finally form his own robot band after seeing "The Trons" from New Zealand on YouTube.

He has since used an imaginative array of electronics to cover GotyeMacklemoreFUN and others.

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h/t YouTube BD594


Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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