Flute playing by WF-4RII (“Flight of the Bumblebee”)

October 10, 2006

robotlips.jpgCheck this out: here is a robot made by Takanishi Laboratories made to play the flute. S/He even has lungs. And lips, if you can call them that. And, well, there are all these other robot parts that if you are in the in-crowd in robotsville, you know what they mean (“5-DOF” means lips in robotspeak I gather).

May I stand back and say THIS IS REALLY SCARY. Musicians: you can be replaced by these robot/musicians. Holy cow. It could actually happen. And then COMPOSERS will rule the world!!

A ha ha ha aha ha haaaaaaaaaaa!

[qt:/v2/assets/Bumblebee.mpg /blog/wp-content/uploads/2006/10/flightposter.mov 320 256]

I really like his hat. Do you think it’s actually READING music? You have to admit, the last three notes really suck.
[Quicktime required to view this video.]

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Fairyboy69 October 10, 2006 at 2:38 am

hmmm… Keep practising, robot… O wait, it’ll keep doing it the exact same way until a human upgrades it.

(and I’m not sure, but I think the captions with the different parts mean “x degrees of freedom)

Brad Wood October 10, 2006 at 12:54 pm

It (he?) will never make it as an orchestral musician as he isn’t bobbing and weaving and mugging for the television audience, as current players are evidently expected to do. Although there is a little eye motion.

The tone is awfully breathy. But after all, there was no way it could have studied with Roger Stevens.

On the plus side of the ledger though, the prodigious interpretive skills are abundantly clear, uncovering whole new depths lurking in the indisputably profound score. But, for my money it’s marginally bested by this, sent to me recently by a dear Taurus:


(patience is required—the loading is slow when I tried it but it did come up eventually)


Mark Carlson October 15, 2006 at 2:18 pm

Wow! That is amazing! I have to agree with Brad that the tone is awfully breathy (and thanks for the compliment–unlike the robot, I did study flute with Roger Stevens), and the performance is a bit wooden–or should I say, a bit metal? Nonetheless, it is a remarkable thing.

But that trombonist! How is it even possible for a human trombonist to do that??

Stormchaser October 17, 2006 at 8:43 pm

It is amazing what the human mind can engineer. My only problem with this robot is the fact that the tone is really breathy and as a robot it will be very hard to put any feel or emotion into the music and that is what I think makes music great, the ability to look into the musician’s or composer’s soul and see what they are feeling.

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