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Halléoojamaflipaphone: A Symphony of Science and Art

Active Participant RER
Active Participant


Ladies and Gentlemen, Please Welcome to Stage…

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The Halléoojamaflipaphone is a tongue-twisting, mash-up of music and mechatronics. The system was built at the University of Manchester for the esteemed Hallé orchestra to use in their work with schoolchildren and dementia-sufferers.


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NI myRIO – the embedded controller that

provides the 'brains' behind the instrument


This robotic musician, controlled by NI myRIO, can play various acoustic instruments in response to any score, from Beethoven to hip hop. In addition to playing guitar and tubular bells, the Halléoojamaflipaphone integrates a V8 engine block whose eight pistons shake different materials to create many unique sounds. It also includes a motorized drummer, which can smash-out beats faster than any human.



The very first recording of the Halléoojamaflipaphone


Inspiration for the mechatronic musician came during a trip to NIWeek in Austin, Texas! In the conference exhibition hall, Peter Green, Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester, witnessed an enormous, Rube-Goldberg'esque music making machine, which was built in collaboration between NI and Intel, and controlled with NI CompactRIO controllers.



Steve Pickett, Education Director of the Hallé orchestra, recounts Peter’s return from NIWeek; "Peter was buzzing about an amazing electronic, musical instrument, and explained that The University of Manchester could make something similar. I said that, providing it was based around more conventional acoustic instruments, then the Hallé orchestra would be very interested - and so the idea of the Halléoojamaflipaphone was born!" 


The Halléoojamaflipaphone has since become an integral part of the Hallé orchestra's outreach activities. The system is currently on tour with the orchestra for their #HalleForYouth concerts, which aims to inspire children with culture and science. The latest incarnation of the ever-evolving Halléoojamaflipaphone has already performed to almost 10,000 school children, with many more to come.




Here is the video of the Steve Pickett's incredible composition, The Robots are Coming, played by the Hallé orchestra feat. Halléoojamaflipaphone, during the #HalleForYouth concerts.





Let's wrap up by allowing the good folk behind the Halléoojamaflipaphone to summarise the value of this wondrous instrument;


"Twenty-thousand kids play with our orchestra every year and another 30,000 take part in the wider Hallé Education programmes. Some of these kids are disengaged, struggling, but we bring them together and they're amazing. The Halléoojamaflipaphone could revolutionise our education programmes, and possibly others initatives at care homes and prisons, with more instruments being added every year. The impact will be colossal. This is no one-hit wonder."

Steve Pickett, Composer/Musician and Education Director of the Hallé orchestra


“Engineering and the arts are so different – Steve and I talk almost in different languages – yet we have created this. The apprentices, led by PhD student Hassan Hakim Khalili, made the Halléoojamaflipaphone a reality. They are great ambassadors for the University and now mentor our own staff because of their expertise. To see what the Hallé orchestra can do with it, the social benefit, there's an extra buzz to that.”

Peter Green, Senior Lecturer in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Peter Green, Steve Pickett, Hassan Hakim Khalili pictured with the team of talented apprentice engineers and musicians who helped bring the Halléoojamaflipaphone to life


Rich Roberts
Senior Marketing Engineer, National Instruments
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