MOTOMAN-DIA10 and MOTOMAN-HP3 robots gave factory floor managers (not to mention post office supervisors) the slip this week to try a new gig - traditional Japanese taiko drumming.
(MOTOMAN-DIA10 and MOTOMAN-HP3 robots taiko drumming)
The robots were special guests at the 400 year-old Kokura Gion Daiko Festival in Kitakyushu, famous for traditional drumming competitions.
Yaskawa Electric worked with organizers for four months to teach the robots. The word "taiko" means "great drum" or "wide drum." Early taiko drumming was done on the battlefield and at court ceremonies in ancient Japan. The modern ensemble style, in which a variety of drums are played at once, dates from the 1960's. Jazz drummer Daihachi Oguchi was invited to perform at a temple and decided to give the performance a jazz flair.
I'm really elated by this new use of robots; I think these Yaskawa robots would be great accompanying one of my favorite turntablists and scratch artists - Kuka's Juke Bot.
Read about the robot pianist from Herbert Goldstone's beautiful 1953 story Virtuoso, which describes what a humanoid robot can do once the correlation between dots on sheet music and the levers of a piano are properly explained. End update.