Purists may disagree, but using robots to play music isn’t such a bad idea after all. Teotronico is a robot with 19 fingers who’s been designed particularly to play the piano, accompany himself on the drums and do a little bit of singing as well, all at the same time.
Of course, it is not what you would expect a seasoned pianist to play, but it is still great music for those who like all things robotic. Teotronico was invented by Italian robot researcher Matteo Suzzi. It cost him £3000 and 4 long years to build Teotronico. The 19 fingers help the robot to play faster than humans, and the video cameras and sensors installed in his frame help Teotronico to interact with his audience and ‘understand’ them through their facial expressions and gestures. The bot can differentiate between various notes and change in speed of keys as well, which until now was not possible by similar robots.
With the help of speech recognition, he interacts with his audience and has already ‘performed’ at a number of private parties. the inventor hopes to ‘revolutionize the music industry’, which I think is a grandiose statement as Teotronico is a robot at the end of the day and wouldn’t be able to compose music on his own or add ’emotions’ to the music that he is playing. Of course, I am veering to the side of purists but I must admit Teotronico is an amazing achievement in the field of robotics and could certainly revolutionize robotic research if not music industry. Researchers might be interested in Teotronico’s applications in the health sector, especially in caring for the seriously or terminally ill where music is known to provide solace, especially classical music.
If robots like Teotronico are mass produced, they might be used to provide entertainment to the terminally ill at a reduced cost for caregivers. It would be naive to expect robots to replace human musicians but that doesn’t mean building robots that mimic human talents should be discouraged. You could also take a look at the Invisible Wearable Instruments and the Can-crushing Robot, which provide similar form of entertainment. If you however prefer human compositions that are altered by humans themselves, take a look at the 10 Techno Remixes of Classical Compositions by famous DJs.