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Robot conducts Andrea Bocelli and Italian orchestra playing Verdi in Pisa

14 Septembre 2017

YuMi, too, was trained to copy the movements of conductor Andrea Colombini, who guided the robotic arms to mimic flourishes he had mastered over a career of leading orchestras.

Last night the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra performed in Pisa, Italy for a crowd of about 800 people.

YuMi, described as the world's first truly collaborative dual-arm robot, made its debut at the opera on Tuesday (Sept. 12) by conducting Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra at the Teatro Verdi in Pisa, Italy.

In one of the most handsome theaters of Italian tradition, Maestro Bocelli sang as YuMi directed "La Donna è Mobile", the famous aria from Verdi's "Rigoletto". A world famous tenor, a celebrated orchestra and a robot conductor were the highlight of Pisa's inaugural International Robotics Festival which runs from September 7 to September 13.

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"Further to conducting Bocelli, he also conducted soloist Maria Luigia Borsi in a rendition of "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's 'Gianni Schicchi". The robot's trainer, Andrea Colombini, said the machine is designed in a manner to execute its task in the most efficient manner. While YuMi is able to follow a strict pre-programmed set of movements, it can not improvise or interact with the musicians, according to the AFP article.

YuMi (short for "you and me working together") was manufactured by Swiss robotics company ABB.

"Setting up the interaction between the elbow, forearm and wrist of the robot, making use of its versatility in repeated and demanding attempts to break down the upbeats and downbeats, was very successful", he said.

The process was recorded and software used to fine-tune its movements and synchronise them to the music before YuMi was ready to lead the orchestra. In other words, the robot can move its arms in the appropriate ways at the appropriate times within the aria, as previously instructed by a human conductor.

Robot conducts Andrea Bocelli and Italian orchestra playing Verdi in Pisa