When it comes to the perfect accompaniment to 2021, there can be nothing better than the RoboTrombo, a project by iSax Laboratories whose primary goal was to create a MIDI-controlled brass instrument “that could play any song.”
It didn’t work.
“When a human trombone player produces a tone it is a combination of lip tension, pressure against the mouthpiece, airflow, air pressure, resonance in the mouth, and probably some other variables. The lip part proved too hard to recreate. The machines will not take over the trombone playing profession any time soon and I’m left with an over-engineered noise machine,” wrote the creators Isak Monrad-Aas and Thomas Hoffmann, students at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.
The project uses a solenoid to push and pull the slide and what is apparently a sex toy to simulate lips on the mouthpiece. The resulting music is, well, exactly what you’d expect out of a system consisting of an air compressor and a Fleshlight.
You can watch a how-to video below or simply enjoy the endless bleating of a robotic trombone caught in a loop of sadness as we careen headfirst into the maw new year. All these guys have to do is make this portable so it can follow us around and give us a little Sad Trombone when life serves up another lemon.