You might have heard someone say that “one day robots will replace humans, they’ll even be able to conduct an orchestra!”. Well, that day has arrived.
Enter YuMi, a dual-arm robot created by ABB, who made a stunning conducting debut in the historical Teatro Verdi, in Pisa, Italy. He directed Andrea Bocelli, the popular Italian tenor, as he sang “La Donna è Mobile”, the aria from Verdi’s Rigoletto.
Even if you’re a classical music expert, I challenge you to close your eyes and listen carefully to YuMi’s direction. Do you notice any discrepancies compared to a human director? No, me neither.
YuMi was trained by maestro Andrea Colombini, director of the Lucca Philarmonic Orchestra.
“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,” he said, according to an ABB press release.
In particular, conductors and orchestra players praised YuMi’s “high level of fluidity of gesture, with an incredible softness of touch and expressive nuancing,” according to ABB.