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YuMi Robot Becomes the First to Conduct an Orchestra

ABB’s dual-armed co-bot YuMi directed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli in a program of Verdi at a charity concert earlier. The performance was a world first by a robotic conductor. The robot was trained by Italian conductor Andrea Colombini consisting of two phases: first of programing via performance as the collaborative robot is learning by imitation and then the fine-tuning to synchronize the robot’s movements with the music. While Colombini said that the “gestural nuances of a conductor have been fully reproduced at a level that was previously unthinkable” insisted we could not do away with the need for humans to inject “spirit” and “soul” into orchestral performance. The aim of co-bots is to work alongside humans and we could imagine they could be used in the future for the first rehearsal before the maestro brings the artistic touch to the interpretation.

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