So, Where’s My Robot?

Thoughts on Social Machine Learning

Robot Jazz Improv

CNN ran a story last week on the latest work of Gil Weinberg and Guy Hoffman on their robot musician, Shimon.   The story covers their recent demonstration of robot jazz improv at CHI 2010 and the Listening Machines 2010 concert.

“Shimon is an autonomous marimba-playing robot designed to create interactions with human players that lead to novel musical outcomes. The robot combines music perception, interaction, and improvisation with the capacity to produce melodic and harmonic acoustic responses through choreographic gestures. We developed an anticipatory action framework, and a gesture-based behavior system, allowing the robot to play improvised Jazz with humans in synchrony, fluently, and without delay. In addition, we built an expressive non-humanoid head for musical social communication.”

The new head is particularly nice–a 6-degree of freedom addition, that aesthetically matches the industrial looking mallet arms.   It uses the camera in the head to perceive other band members, and times its head beats to the music.  As they say, the purpose of the head is to create the social responsiveness and reaction that the other humans in the jazz group expect from a teammate.

And I’m not the only one who thinks they did a nice job on the social cues, the local Atlanta news anchors liked it too (though they did list the article under the heading “bizarre”).

Update:  This work just received a best paper award at ICRA 2010, congrats to Guy and Gil!

May 2nd, 2010 Posted by | HRI, In the News | no comments