Robots have been entertaining us human meat puppets for decades by playing musical instruments. Back in 1984 Waseda University’s WABOT-2 played the piano, and more recently they’ve made robots that can play the flute and saxophone. Drexel University’s Music Entertainment Technology lab programmed the diminutive Robonova to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Then there’s the famous trumpet, tuba, trombone, drum, and violin-playing robots from Toyota. Now we can add a new instrument to the list. The famous HRP-2 Promet and NAO can play the theremin by controlling pitch with one arm and the volume with the other, and even sing thanks to the use of Vocaloid software. Granted, it’s not the most difficult instrument to play (no physical contact is required), but it’s just the type of strange electronic instrument you might expect a robot to master. Angelica Lim (known as PetiteGeek on Twitter) is a Canadian-American computer scientist programming musical humanoid robots at Kyoto University (that’s her accompanying on flute in the following video).
Video (HRP-2 plays the theremin):
Video (NAO plays the theremin):
Recently she wrote an article about Vstone’s Robot Marathon for IEEE Automaton.
[source: MsPetiteGeek @ YouTube]