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The Kid Should See This

This festive robotic glockenspiel plays Christmas songs on demand

Listen to ‘Deck the Halls‘ play on a homemade, Twitter-connected robotic glockenspiel with Raspberry Pi brains. The interactive instrument, located in a Northumbria University office in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, is from the team at NUSTEM:

When anyone tweets to @NUSTEMxmas and requests a festive tune, our Pi picks up the message and quickly searches through our vast bank of early 00s mobile phone ringtones for a match. A command is then sent to another Pi elsewhere in the office, which decodes the ringtone and instructs yet another Pi to rev eight servos into action. Those servos move hammers which strike our home-made, only-slightly-out-of-tune, no-sharps-or-flats, plays-with-enough-enthusiasm-to-occasionally-break-itself glockenspiel. We also added flashing lights – synced to the music, obviously – to enhance the festive mood, and a readout so we know who’s requested the song. One of the Pis (we forget which, but probably the first) also tweets a reply to the original requester.

And here’s a Jingle Bells test video of the project:

Learn more about how it was made at, and tweet your own song to @NUSTEMxmas. We sent it Let It Snow! and received this back:

Next: Beethoven’s Ninth on a Toolbox Glockenspiel, The Heart of Maker Faire, a community-inspired light installation, and more videos of Christmas music and all sorts of holidays.

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