Linear Actuators and Music

A linear actuator is a type of motor that uses the energy inherent in rotational motion to convert it to energize motion in the linear plane (a straight line). Linear actuators are valuable items in the engineer’s tool box and it is difficult to imagine an electro-mechanical application that cannot usefully incorporate a linear actuator into its design.

Applications for Linear Actuators

Linear actuators are used in aviation, automotive customization (mini actuators), astronomy and in the oil industry (heavy duty actuators) along with dozens of other applications. Mini actuators, which rely mainly on electric motors for power, can be between 1 and 24 inches in size and produce anywhere from 15 to 150 pounds of force. Heavy duty actuators, on the other hand, are capable of generating forces up to 6875 pounds of force.

The actuator in music

Linear actuators may be employed in several different ways to produce music:

  • Performance – Playing the Building was a large-scale musical performance in 2005. In this video (link below), David Byrne uses electric motors and actuators to control elements within a New York City building including pipes, girders and radiators -
  • Musical instruments – Author and Punisher is a one-man doom and drone metal band who incorporates an actuator as one of his Drone Machines. An actuator serves as a rhythm controller.
  • Robots that play music – The A.M.P (Automatic Musical Personality) is a self-balancing, two-wheeled music player. It can play music from your android smart phone or from an attached electronic music player. A.M.P is pre-programmed with tunes matching its personality so you can play it straight out of the box. This cheeky chap undoubtedly contains one or more mini actuators.

Playing the Building video:

Author and Punisher video:

Automatic Music Personality video:

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5 Responses to Linear Actuators and Music

  1. Lee Hanson says:

    Simply incredible. It has been know that actuators have many different applications but music is one that does not immediately come to mind! Thank you for sharing.

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