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back to article Asimo conducts symphony orchestra

Honda’s famous white robot has given the first musical performance of its life – conducting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Can't see the video? Download Flash Player from Adobe.com Late last month, Register Hardware reported how the car manufacturer had inked plans to showcase Asimo's musical skills at a specially arranged …

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Periodic motion from a mechanical device

If this was 1208 rather than 2008, I'd be impressed.

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Over the top

It's a bit extravagant isn't it? I'm sure you can get a metronome a lot cheaper than the cost of one of those things. Must run on VB - that's Visual Bullsh*t as I can't see any point to it at all.

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Big White Metronome

Not exactly conducting is it, more standing in front of everyone and keeping time. When it can do expression, real-time corrections of tempo and volume and expression by bringing out certain parts, then it'll be very impressive.

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Ash
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So what?

Did Asimo read sheet music and decide the timing on the fly re-create the appropriate arm movements, or was it pre-programmed with a scripted sequence?

If it's the latter, I can do the same thing with a Lego set.

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Bah

Pointless publicity stunt. As Ken says, it's simply not very impressive to have a machine move according to a programmed sequence just because it comes in a humanoid shape. In fact the only—irritating—aspect of interest is that we are shown highly skilled professional humans being ordered around by a soulless machine, a picture that has many implications about society concerning ideals and direction. As if we were not ruled around by computers enough already.

In one word: Disgusting.

If Honda wants to impress us they can come back when they have a full orchestra of bots playing real instruments according to the instructions of a human conductor. Pointless too, but at least it has the machine at the right end.

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Coat

1208? 1808 would be clever...

...Given that (according to the indisputable Wikipedia) the metronome was invented in 1812.

Funnily enough, my mobile phone comes with a little metronome gadget (alongside the remembering my passwords gadget, the world time gadget, the converting Centigrade to Fahrenheit gadget and the shoe-size-to-wang-size gadget that I don't ever use) and I'm pretty sure it was cheaper than Asimo.

Looks less like a midget in a spacesuit though, which is a point in Asimo's favour.

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Coat

Conductor vs. Orchestra

As a semi professional musician who has played with my fair share of orchestras and conductors, I'm not impressed. A good orchestra (most above the high school or college level) can make a decent performance of most music with a decisive downbeat and little else. The music is known by the players, and they are trained to listen to each other, so they can keep together without any trouble.

The difference that a great conductor makes is first in the rehearsals where he/she provides how the music is to be interpreted and second in the subtle changes and interpretations that he/she will add "Live" during a performance. Since I doubt Asimo was doing much musical interpretation in real time (aside from possibly some speed matching, which would mean that Asimo was following the orchestra and not the other way around!), probably did not lead the rehearsals, and undoubtedly performed the exact same motions as he was programmed to (thus no "live" differences to keep the musicians interested and excited). I'd expect the performance to be as good as had there been no conductor at all.

But, the audience probably didn't notice the difference...

Now if he can launch a baton from 20 ft into the bell of a trumpet when they come in 1/2 a beat too late in a rehearsal..... then I'd be impressed! This one time..... at band camp.......

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All depends

It sort of does depend on how Asimo conducted the music. if it read from the music sheet and processed the notations into movements, as well as listened and processed the sounds coming from the orchestra, then I think its a pretty big step. But as said, if its just a programmed sequence of movements then its not exactly rocket science.

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How may I help you?

Prove it thought its way through the process from rehearsal to performance and then it will be impressive. Otherwise just a cute metronome with either preprogrammed arm waving or arm movements were a response to the sounds produced by the humans. If either preprogrammed or response applies then I can see the future of complaint desks and call centres (oh I guess that means they will simply be replacing the present meat-based robots).

Robot! Get my coat!

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Gates Halo

Makes me sad

I miss QRIO, I'm disappointed that the Sony discontinued his Asimo kicking ass!

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Not conducting.

As someone who never even made grade 4 on the cello, I can assure you that is not conducting.

The grindingly slow change of direction leaves no clear beats. I couldn't have played along. "But you're rubbish!" yes, but a professional human conductor would be able to keep me *in time*, even if I made a horrible mess of the notes.

The professional musicians in the video were playing with each other -- the only thing Asimo did was tell them when to stop.

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Credit!

Give little asimo some credit! I'd like to see you guys stand up in front of an orchestra and know what your doing.

The motion of the arm movements and the way the robot turns at the end is simply stunning imo!

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Really Old News This

I remember seeing this video a couple of years ago.

Why bring it to your readers attention after so long?

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Finally, a real semiconductor

Asimo reminds me of the old joke about Lawrence Welk.

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