Watch this little drummer bot stay on beat

Watch this little drummer bot stay on beat

Humanoid robotics are a long-cherished passion project for tech titans as well as experimental researchers .. It seems like everyone wants one .. Social skills are hard for machines to learn ,, and more often than they should, these robots have a difficult time fitting in the human world.

Xiaomi is a Chinese consumer electronics company. They teased that they were creating such a machine in July .. According to the company’s press release, the 5-foot, 8-inch bot, called CyberOne, is probably not intended to be all that useful, IEEE Spectrum reported, but rather it’s “a way of exploring possibilities with technology that may have useful applications elsewhere.”

As for the robot’s specs, the company said that CyberOne comes with a “depth vision module” as well as an AI interaction algorithm. It can additionally support up to 21 degrees of freedom in motion and has a real-time response speed that “allows it to fully simulate human movements.”

Xiaomi just released a new clip of CyberOne. It’s playing a multi-instrumental drum set slowly, but aptly. It can coordinate complex movements such as tapping the foot pedal and hitting the drumsticks together. And it’s certainly more elegant and evolved than other, scrappier (and sometimes disembodied) robot bands and orchestras of the past.

[Related: How Spotify trained an AI to transcribe music]

How does CyberOne know what CyberOne should do? A diagram was created by Xiaomi showing how sound files can be transformed into movements for CyberOne. First, the drum position and strike speed commands can be fine-tuned online. Then, these beats are fed to CyberOne via a MIDI file, which tells the computer what instrument was played, what notes were played on the instrument, how loud and how long they were played for, and with which effects, if any. The robot then uses an offline motion library for the movements, making sure it hits the right instrument at the right time.

Executing instructions in a clear and coordinated manner is difficult even for humans. Humanoid robots are different from regular bots because they’re meant to emulate natural movements, but can often be impractical in a real world setting. They need specialized training to do the simplest functions (like not falling over). A humanoid robot that can play drums might be able to perform complex tasks such as manipulating or interfacing with objects.

“We are working on the second generation of CyberOne, and hope to further improve its locomotion and manipulation ability,” Zeyu Ren, a senior hardware engineer at the Xiaomi Robotics Lab, told IEEE Spectrum. “On the hardware level we plan to add more freedoms, integrate self-developed dexterous fingers, and add more sensors.” On the software level, more robust control algorithms for locomotion and vision will be developed.”

Watch CyberOne groove below:

YouTube video

Charlotte Hu

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