Skip to Content

0707CNzap.jpg

Composer Christine Southworth ‘02 (center) stands between two singers who performed her “Zap!” at the Museum of Science as part of the Cambridge Science Festival held in April. “Zap!” is a musical composition for flutes, guitar, cello, bass, piano, robots, human voices, and the museum’s 40-foot-tall Van de Graaff generator, which provides static and flashing lights. The generator, the largest of its kind, is capable of producing up to 1.5 million volts of electricity. Designed and built at MIT in the 1930s, it was originally used in early atom-smashing and high-energy-x-ray experiments; in 1956, MIT gave the generator to the museum, where it is now used in daily demonstrations of lightning and electricity. “Zap!” is an offshoot of a project started by Southworth and Leila Hasan ‘01, MEng ‘01, called Ensemble Robot, a small collection of robotic musicians that produce both simple and complex patterns of sound from acoustic sources including strings, pipes, drums, and wooden keys. “Zap!” employs several of these robots as well as human musicians.

Image Credit: Paul Weiner

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.