Alyssa Batula and Yougmoo Kim at Drexel University built a 15.75″ tall robot which can play simple melodies on the piano at 200 beats/minute. It only has two “fingers” so it has to stick to easy songs like the one in the video below. It even has pitch detection so it knows when it plays the wrong note and learns from its mistake, but it doesn’t say “hold on, I’ll start over” and then make some lame excuse for crappy playing (that’s how you know it’s not human). Its pitch detection also works on other piano players nearby, so the robot can play along and harmonize with another pianist.
Batula and Kim are planning to have two robots play together next. They should add Spruce Deuce to the ensemble to create a hipster band that is kind of obscure (you probably haven’t heard of them). But first they should work on fixing this:
At the moment, it can only hit the white keys. [NewScientist]