RadioBots is an artwork by Matthew Gardiner, in collaboration with Etheira Technologies, Aphids and Speak Percussion.

Radio Robot = Radiobot

Using robotic technology combined with analogue radio signalling, the RadioBots will be truly site-specific in nature, turning their environment into an all-encompassing, resounding instrument.

The RadioBots will respond to rhythms played on a control-panel-instrument. Percussionists will perform on the control-panel-instrument. These signals will trigger radio waves that will control the RadioBots which will be situated on a range of surfaces throughout a venue.

RadioBots are percussive amplifiers. Where most sound systems use vibrating membranes to transmit sounds (eg. speaker cone), RadioBots amplify an audio signal with percussive vibration (eg. a mallet hitting a surface). Radiobots have robotic hands controlled by a simple electronic brain. The brain converts a radio signal into simple beats.

Radiobots Concept

World Premiere Performance

The building become the instrument

Picture a large open building, full of overhead beams, panes of glass, wooden alcoves. RadioBots are mounted on all suitable parts of the building. The percussionist plays the entire space from one location.

The environment becomes the instrument

As an extension to 'the building becomes the instrument', the environment, nature, metal bridges, external glass panes of buildings, large towers, can all sustain low level percussive strikes and become an instrument.

Extension of the percussionist's hand

The percussionist may have multiple instruments spread across a room. Using radiobotic technology the percussionist can play them all from the one location. Radiobots extends the reach of the percussionist's hand.

How to make a Radiobot

Artist Matthew Gardiner

Technical Designer Ray Gardiner

Composer David Young

Percussionist Eugene Ughetti

Produced by Aphids

With special thanks to Joshua Gardiner (technical assistance) and the team at Eastbank in Shepparton: Rob Robson, Kirsten Paisley, and Jo Ely.

Aphids and the Radiobots are supported by Arts Victoria and The Australian Government through the Australia Council - its arts funding and advisory body.


RadioBots is an artwork by Matthew Gardiner, in collaboration with Etheira Technologies, Aphids and Speak Percussion "meticulously constructed objects... the sonic force reverberates around the rooms and halls to sybiotic effect - what seems like an infestation of the alien quickly becomes a polyvocal chorus of the environment... an agent of purest bedlam."RealTime]

We acknowledge the Wuthaurong people on whose lands we live and work. Sovereignty was never ceded and we pay our respect to past, present, and future Aboriginal elders and community, and to their long and rich history of artmaking on this Country.