| flutophone


Flutophone is one of the oldest members of the RobOrchestra. Its seven fingers cover and reveal the seven holes on top of the recorder in order to specify particular notes.

Currently Flutophone is in a semi-functioning state. The instrument itself has gone out of tune over time, but it cannot be replaced by any recorder except one with the exact same hole spacing because the fingers are not adjustable.


Flutophone's fingers were originally made of cheap hardboard. After considerable use, the keyway on the hardwood gave out and fingers began to slip. Recently, the fingers have been replaced with laser-cut acrylic and reattached to the original sprockets. The sprockets are turned by servos mounted within the casing.

The air flow is controlled by a solenoid valve. The input of the valve is connected to a compressor running at approximately 30psi. The output is connected to the mouthpiece of the recorder, with a latex balloon serving as a buffer to stifle the initial surge in pressure when the airflow is first activated.


The entire robot is controlled by a single Arduino Duemilanove. It takes in serial commands from a master controller and interprets them as notes with a duration. It then sends a PWM signal to each of the 7 servos to position each of the 7 fingers properly. After a short delay to allow for the fingers to reach their position, it activates the solenoid valve. When the robot is not playing a note, its resting state is with all holes covered.