11/06/08: Robotic flute player aces “Flight of the Bumblebee”
Researchers have developed a robot that playes the incredibly complicated “Flight of the Bumblebee”, note for note, perfectly. He’s even equipped with a bowler hat, of sorts, and expressive (and somewhat creepy) eyes.
See for yourself:
The team of developers behind the design made gave the robot these human qualitys to hopefully have him be a contendor for performances infront of audiences. He was named, “Waseda Flutist No. 4 Refined IV” (WF-4RIV for short), after the University in Japan that is working on the project. WF-4RIV’s mouth and lips were created to have the elasticity of human lips and use embedded pins, to control their shape. By moving the pins slightly, the shape of the robot’s mouth is changed, allowing him to mimic the movements of his human counterpart.
The robot’s lungs are composed of two air-tight acrylic cases, with a bellow that allows them to breathe in and out. Not only that, “the robot’s eyes have two cameras that allow it to interact with the audience and other musicians, so we could soon see it playing duets with people.”
One could argue that this type of research is pretty useless, but, by researching ways to have robots mimic human movements, scientists could perhaps develop robots that could help the disabled in an iRobot sort of fashion. (Hopefully they’ll be a bit less angry than the robots from iRobot, though.)
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