A MIDI Controlled Robotic Trombone Machine

Inspired by the incredible work of Martin Molin, the engineers at iSax Laboratories created a robotic, MIDI-controlled instrument that would sound like a trombone. Sadly, that wasn’t the case, due mostly to the fact that the trombone relies on just more than the instrument itself to create different sounds.

When a human trombone player produces a tone it is a combination of lip tension, pressure against the mouthpiece, airflow, air pressure, resonance in the mouth, and probably some other variable. The lip part proved too hard to recreate. The machines will not take over the trombone-playing profession any time soon and I’m left with an over engineered noise machine.

Despite the setbacks, this RoboTrombo Machine is amazing and its distinct monotone “sad trombone” sound makes for a perfect soundtrack for current times.


The engineer provided a walkthrough of how the instrument was created.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.