This robot can conduct an orchestra and actually make it sound beautiful

Scientists have created a robot capable of conducting an orchestra, and have tried it out in a performance featuring famous Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli – with stunning results.

In a programme of music entitled “A Breath Of Hope: From The Stradivarius To The Robot”, the YuMi dual-arm robot conducted the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra at the Teatro Verdi, in Pisa, with a number of soloists.

The robot “learned” how to conduct the suite of pieces in two steps.

First, Maestro Andrea Colombini, the usual, human, conductor of the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra had his movements captured by robot, which followed in great detail. Once this was recorded, the movements were fine-tuned using software and synchronised to the music.

Bocelli, who sang La Donna E Mobile from Verdi’s Rigoletto with YuMi conducting the orchestra, was impressed by YuMi’s capabilities. He said: “It was so much fun to perform with YuMi, ABB’s collaborative robot. It showed that a robot could really conduct an orchestra, but only with the excellent work of very talented engineers and a real maestro.”

Conductors have no need to worry in the long term, though.

ABB, the creator of the robot, said: “It is unlikely robots will ever prove capable of combining the scholarship, artistry, technique, interpretation and charisma of a skilled human conductor.”


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