We’ve seen robotic Guitar Hero players and robotic guitars as art installation; now, one last set of robots for the week — robotic drummers.

The Motoman robots take up taiko drumming at a 400-year-old festival in Japan. An impressive display, but you may immediately notice they lack a certain … something. (That something is definitely not creepiness, for the robotophobic.

‘Motoman’ bot shows it’s got rhythm [Cnet Crave Blog]

What you won’t see here is anything truly live or interactive. For that, Georgia Tech trumps the Japanese engineers, with the robot Haile, which we first covered nearly two years ago. Haile is an interactive robot that listens to what a human drummer has played. Rather than simply echoing rhythms, Haile is able to intelligently “improvise” responses. The results may still be early in the evolution of musical robotics, but they go far beyond the example above. Here, robots are able to extend, rather than replace, human abilities; they embody the compositional ideas of the programmer, and engage the human player’s traditional musicianship.

In other words, like a good musician, a good robot listens and makes you play better.

Robot Drummer Responds to Human Playing; How They Did It

  • The human drummer gets his groove together in the second half of the vid allowing the robot to really shine. I was expecting the robot to lunge forward and smash the man's hands while the wooden head exploded into flames and all that.

    Also, why not give the robot his own chair, that's kind of racist. No wonder it attacked the guy, right? Sure they gave it super calves but that doesn't make up for giving it an Alien Mullet head.

    I do like how the robots have said "Look, were not doing any Simmons' 80s drums here. Were gonna rock your most traditional forms of drums and all that. No double bass pedals either 'cause we don't need it. Were old school and those pedals are just for cheaters. Also, you didn't give us working legs anyways! You're just asking for us to kill you with these sticks. Beat you to death by playing "Wipe out" on your skulls, and all that!"

  • Ooooh finally an excuse to tell the world about this:


    I wish it was a real robot and not a film creation…

  • anik

    all hail our machinedrum leaders. we will be thralls to the robot drummers. don't fight it.

  • That monkey robot video is really sick. I found that a while back too. When I was working with Gary Katz of Steely Dan fame, he told me that when they where recording some of the early stuff, Jeff Porcoro was called on by people working with the Bee Gees to be a model for a mechanical drum arm that could play those pesky disco hi hat beats with the Porcoro touch. Apparently, a lot of the beats on Saturday Night Fever are tape loops! I don't think they ever got the arm working but, I always loved the idea of changing the worn down or broken sticks on a really groovy robot. Some day!

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  • too bad the human player is not all that impressive.

    they should put some rubber on the robot's mallet, that's murder on a skin drum

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