Dan Lofaro at Drexel University’s Autonomous Systems Lab says that one of their long-term goals is to have Jaemi HUBO perform with a live music ensemble. That’s a pretty lofty goal, and surely a few years away. I’m guessing that they would have Jaemi HUBO playing the drums, or perhaps even just a tambourine, because more complex instruments would likely be too difficult to use. In any event, if the song isn’t known ahead of time the robot will need to be programmed so that its sensors, including vision, can be used to help it perform in sync with its human partners. He explains and demonstrates the process of calculating the beat tempo based on optical flow in the following video.
Traditionally, musical robots like Toyota’s Partner Robot band, Concero, are programmed to perform specific songs ahead of time. I guess the idea here is that Jaemi HUBO will be playing in a jazz ensemble where the music is improvised. It is a bit slow to calculate changes in tempo (as you may have noticed in the video) but I suppose it’s a start towards robots that can jump into any song, at any time, and jam percussion to the beat. A feature like that would have been fun if SONY had ever got around to selling the QRIO.
[source: TheDanComplex @ YouTube]