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