ST. CLOUD -- The 3rd annual MNMade Festival is going on this week, bringing the unique sounds of a robot orchestra to the campus of St. Cloud State University.

The week-long event is led by SCSU professors Scott Miller and Kristian Twombley, and Troy Rogers, co-founder of Expressive Machines Musical Instruments.

Rogers, who graduated from SCSU in 2001, says the orchestra works by mapping out data of the sound made by each robot and relaying that information to allow the robots to respond to each other's sounds. Rogers says the process makes for a unique experience of listening to the band of robots operating virtually on their own.

"One of the most celebrated of humanity is music," Rogers says. "So you've got music and technology combining in a way that can reflect back and let us hear what we like about music in a different way."

Rogers, Miller and Twombley are holding workshops all week leading up to the free concert by the robot orchestra on Saturday night at the Performing Arts Center.

"At first, it's certainly different, to say the least," says Miller, a music professor at SCSU since 1993. "But in my experience, it causes me to just listen differently to music and hear something that you can't hear on the radio."

Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON