Meet Robby Megabyte, Bosnia's first robot rock band musician

Daria Sito-Sucic
·2-min read

By Daria Sito-Sucic

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia's most popular rock band, Dubioza Kolektiv, has a new recruit who sings and plays musical instruments - a humanoid robot called Robby Megabyte built by students.

The students from the Sarajevo University electrical engineering school agreed to construct Robby after the band requested a robot designed to fit the concept of their album #fakenews, which was released last year.

"Our robot is not a standard robotic story. He likes to eat, drink, shout, he likes music," said Vedran Mujagic, the band's bass guitar player who was most involved in designing the concept for Robby.

In a video clip for the #fakenews album, one band member thinks it would be fun to have a robot do his work while he relaxes and has fun, so he orders one and puts it together.

Gradually the whole band is replaced by robots in the clip, allowing the men to go and party. But they then get locked out of their studio and the robots have the last laugh, inviting young women to dance and drink as the men look on from outside.

"Every little thing is under machine control," the robots sing in a song called "Take my job away".

"(It is about) evil artificial intelligence which takes away jobs from good people," Mujagic said.

CHALLENGE

One of the students who helped build the robot used in the album, Almir Besic, said the project had been a challenge because they knew nothing at first about the 3D printing needed to build the robot and lacked the necessary equipment.

They used recycled materials, including a Golf 2 axle shaft and baby trolley wheels, to make the platform on which Robby moves. It took them about two years to complete the project.

When Robby finally came to life, "it was such a euphoric moment, after so much effort, so many hours spent working in the school to see that it works", Besic said.

The band Dubioza Kolektiv is known for its eclectic musical style and socially and politically engaged lyrics.

Robby took part in the band's online weekly gigs called "Quarantine Show" during lockdowns imposed last year to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Gareth Jones)