Swiss robot conducts orchestra in Italy

By Daniel Uria  |  Sept. 14, 2017 at 10:06 AM
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Sept. 14 (UPI) -- A robot took the stage at a charity concert in Italy to conduct an orchestra featuring famed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.

Swiss automation company's robot YuMi took the helm of the illustrious orchestra at the Teatro Verdi, in Pisa, Italy, in front of 800 guests at the First International Festival of Robotics.

"It was so much fun to perform with YuMi, ABB's collaborative robot. It showed that a robot could really conduct an orchestra, but only with the excellent work of very talented engineers and a real maestro. Congratulations to the team that pulled this off," Bocelli said.

YuMi conducted a program titled "A breath of hope: from the Stradivarius to the robot" including songs such as "La Donna e Mobile," "Rigoletto," and "O mio babbino caro."

Maestro Andrea Colombini helped prepare YuMi for the performance through rehearsals where his movements were captured using "lead-through programming," which recorded his movements.

"Setting up the interaction between the elbow, forearm and wrist of the robot, making use of its versatility in repeated and demanding attempts to break down the upbeats and downbeats, was very successful," Colombini said.

YuMi's moves were then fine-tuned in ABB's RobotStudio software and synchronized to music.

"I think tonight we're truly making history and writing the future of robotics applications," ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofe said. "YuMi demonstrated how intuitive, how self-learning this machine is - how wonderful our software really is in learning the movement of a conductor, sensing the music, and really conducting an entire team."

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