Arts & Culture / Science & Technology

John, Paul, George and Hubo?

Four humanoid robots stole the spotlight on YouTube last year with their take on the Beatles’ “Come Together.” Now the Drexel engineers responsible are giving a behind-the-scenes look at how the music video…well, came together.

In anticipation of the upcoming Music Hack Day Philadelphia , Drexel’s ExCITe Center has released a re-mastered version of the Hubos’ “Come Together” video. The new take is chock-full of inside information in the classic VH1 “Pop-up Video” format.

The Hubos’ first video received viral acclaim when it was released on April 2, 2012. Fox News and the Blue Man Group picked up on the robotic riff on the classic Beatles tune, and since then more than 175,000 people have viewed it worldwide.

“The inspiration for the original video came from the photo shoot for Drexel Magazine recreating the classic ‘Abbey Road’ album cover with the Hubos,” said Dr. Youngmoo Kim, director of the ExCITe Center. “As a music technology lab, we felt compelled to do something musical as a follow-up, and the entire video project was completed in less than weeks. We hope the pop-up video provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the project and demonstrates some of the ways music and technology can literally and figuratively ‘come together’ at Music Hack Day.”

Some fun facts that didn’t make it into the pop-up video:Hubos-ComeTogether1

  • Twelve students worked for three weeks to program the Hubos, build the instruments and complete the shoot.
  • Seventy-six and a half feet of PVC pipe was used to construct the Hubos’ “hubophone” instruments
  • The Hubos’ hubophone sticks were made from paint stirrers given away for free at Lowe’s Home Improvement Store…the team went through so many stirrers during rehearsal and filming that the local Lowes cut them off.
  • Kim selected “Come Together” because it was from the Abbey Road album, an allusion to the Hubos’ Alumni Magazine appearance, and its notes and pace lends itself well to a 12-note orchestration.Hubos-AbbeyRoad-DrexelMag

Music Hack Day is an international musical technology coding marathon that has been held in 12 cities internationally since 2009. On May 18-19 the ExCITe Center will host the first Philadelphia-based Music Hack Day. For more information about the event, visit www.musickhackday.org.

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