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Robotic Maestro Debut: Bahrain Culture News Witness a Robot Conductor

Historic South Korean Premiere: Robot Takes the Conductor Baton

A groundbreaking event is set to grace South Korea cultural stage as a robot steps into the role of orchestra conductor for the first time. Scheduled for the end of this month, the National Orchestra of Korea, a renowned traditional music ensemble, will showcase the performance “Absence” at the Haeoreum Grand Theater in central Seoul on June 30, featuring an android conductor.

Although robots have ventured into conducting roles globally on prior occasions, this marks a pioneering feat in South Korea. Prominent robotic conductors include Japan’s Asimo, introduced by Honda in 2008; Switzerland’s collaborative robot Yumi in 2017; Japan’s second-generation artificial intelligence humanoid robot, Alter 2, unveiled in 2018; and the third iteration of the Alter robot series, Alter 3, released in 2020, according to the South Korean News Agency (Yonhap).

Leading the upcoming performance is EveR 6, an emotionally expressive android robot developed by the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) just a year ago. Resembling the human form, EveR 6 boasts remarkable flexibility and precision in the movements of its neck and forearm, enabling it to execute intricate actions with exceptional speed shifts.

EveR 6’s preparation involved the utilization of “motion capture” technology, which digitally records a human conductor’s baton trajectory through sensor attachments. Additionally, the robot’s programming includes registering the baton’s movement speed and ensuring precise synchronization with the music tempo.

Choi Soo-yeol, another conductor in the spotlight, will also lead the orchestra. After individual solo performances that showcase their unique strengths, the two conductors will unite in a collaborative display, jointly leading a musical composition.

Choi, reflecting on the robotic challenge, highlighted the complexity of real-time interaction and communication, especially within a musical context. In contrast, Choi aims to underscore the distinct attributes of human conductors, emphasizing leadership skills and the ability to interpret music, promising to deliver an exceptional performance.

The fusion of technology and tradition in this performance not only showcases South Korea’s innovative spirit but also offers a remarkable glimpse into the ever-evolving landscape of the arts.

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