If robots are planning to take over the world, we’re certainly making it pretty easy for them, after a humanoid robot was invited to replace the conductor for the Lucca Philharmonic orchestra, at a show on Tuesday night.
The YuMi robot made its debut appearance at the Verdi theatre in Pisa, Italy, seamlessly leading the full orchestra through three of 18 pieces performed throughout the evening.
Raising its baton alongside Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, the two-armed robot flawlessly repeated arm movements that it had been taught by the orchestra’s resident conductor, Andrea Colombini.
Colombini, who had to have lessons with him holding YuMi’s ‘arms’ so it could memorise his gestures, told Reuters: “We basically had to find time to understand his movements. When we found the way, everything was pretty easy.
“It is absolutely fantastic. And the technicians were fantastic just to make everything perfect, especially in the length and in the speed of the gesture, which is very important,” he said.
Although it is unlikely that Colombini will be fighting the robot for his job anytime soon, as the robot is not able to improvise, and any change in tempo from the musicians would have thrown it off track.
When they first introduced it to the market in 2015, Swiss makers ABB envisioned it could be used alongside humans in their professions, because of the artistry and and flexible technique needed in many roles.
A spokesperson for ABB said: “The unique demonstration showed what can happen when advanced robotics meets the arts.”
Honda’s humanoid robot Asimo did the same several years ago when the 4ft 3in white robot helped the Detroit Symphony Orchestra performance of ‘The Impossible Dream’ from ‘Man of La Mancha’.
Asimo even took a final bow to enthusiastic shouts from the audience.