Punky Oi-Robots pogo at the ICA

Punk rock robots are infesting London’s ICA tonight and tomorrow as part of an art/science event funded by the Wellcome Trust.
The three-metre tall, leather-clad robots have been programmed to only recognise and respond to certain kinds of punk music, and when they hear the sounds they like they pogo alongside the other punks at the show.
The Wellcome Trust funded artist Fiddian Warman’s project to build robots that can respond to music by bouncing (or ‘pogoing’) up and down in time to the beat. But the robots have also been programmed with neural networks that enable them to compare the live music they’re hearing to classic punk music to which they have been pre-conditioned. The more the live music resembles their classic punk education – the ‘punkier’ it is – the more vigorously the robots will pogo.
Their neural networks have been designed to imitate the cells of the human brain that stimulate mimicry. Called “mirror neurons”, these cells fire in the same way both when we perform a certain action and when we see or hear someone else do the same action
The band the robots most like is called Neurotic and the PVCs, it includes frontman Fiddian himself, Andrew Tweedie on guitar, drummer Chris Bashford and Rob Bartram on bass. The band will play both tonight and tomorrow,
In developing the robots and giving them their musical taste, Fiddian worked with musical director Andrew Tweedie, programmer Jons Jones Morris, neurologist Dr Barry Gibb, and computational biologist Professor Peter McOwan from Queen Mary, University of London.
More information and a video on the BBC website.

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