artist neil mendoza’s latest creation takes the idea of a rock band rather literally, in the sense that his latest video consists of a set of instruments played by actual rocks. mendoza’s rock band is composed of electromechanical instruments that make music with rocks by throwing them through the air, slapping them and making them vibrate. mendoza has used the instruments to create a rendition of the beatles’ ‘here comes the sun’—a biographical choice, describing the daily experience of a rock sitting on the ground in the sun. the project was created as part of 3D design company autodesk’s awesome artist in residence program.

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mendoza’s instruments are made up of ‘pingers’ which fire small rocks at aluminium keys using solenoids, ‘spinners’ which launches peices of the magnetic rock hematite at pieces of marble using spinning magnetic. also present are ‘slappers’ which slaps larger rocks with faux leather material, and ‘buzzers’ which vibrate the plunger or a solenoid against a piece of marble.

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the whole project is controlled by a computer running a MIDI player written in openFrameworks, talking to a teensy USB development board. mendoza details that the machines were designed using autodesk fusion 360 and autodesk inventor. 

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