Friday, May 13, 2011

Robots with human touch student orchestra

They have been seen disarm bombs, nuclear power plants to help clean up and even vacuuming in the room without bumping into furniture or topple vases. But until now, had not been seen in an orchestra playing music next to human beings. MahaDeviBot, GlockenBot, breakbot and cyberfriends, students play with music classes and drama of the California Institute of the Arts, a small private institution.

For months, a dozen human musicians and the same number of robots tested for a concert that should give on Thursday night at the Walt Disney Modular Theatre Institute. "It's like a symbiotic relationship between humans and machines," said Ajay Kapur musician with a doctorate in electrical engineering who heads the music technology program at school (one of whose founders was Walt Disney).

"The interaction between humans and machines far exceeds that of a person to program the robot and press the button 'play'. As he spoke, students and robots are frantically preparing for the concert. Tammy, a robot that plays the marimba, bells shake vigorously fast pace imposed by two percussionists, and breakbot NotomotoN.

The pieces were a melodic fusion of jazz, hip hop, electronica and world music composed by Kapur and students. The concert was the product of four years of work, from day Kapur, who plays the sitar, jazz came to the school located in the picturesque hills north of Los Angeles. He had a mission: to create an orchestra composed rule humans and robots in equal numbers, which would train professional musicians and manipulate the machines.

Kapur and Michael Darling, director of dramatic arts program, recruited the musicians of the institute and collected all kinds of waste material to manufacture the robots. Then filled the small brains of the machines with open source software that allows them to read sheet music composition program and run.

And thus was born the KarmetiK Machine Orchestra (karma and Kinetics in English). And that's just the beginning next year hope to create a musical set in Mumbai, India, in 2050. The robots will be the masters and the people will be playing electronic music. For 10 years, Kapur hopes that the orchestra is capable of relating musically Mahabharata and Ramayana epics, the Iliad and Odyssey India.

However, he has no intention that the robots do their own show. "We will not go that far," Kapur said, adding that for that very reason their robots do not look human. "We are not humanoid, that's going too far," he said. "We will not replace humans. We emphasize the ability of human beings with the technology scene.


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