Earlier this year Chinese tech maker Xiaomi took the wraps off CyberOne, its upcoming humanoid robot. The ‘bot only offered a limited demonstration in August but it’s back for something a little more impressive.
Specifically, the robot has turned up in a video where it plays the drums. And yes, it really appears to be doing so. But as impressive as the demonstration is, it also shows just how far we have to go before robotic humanoids are really a thing.
Which drummer? The CyberOne
The first thing that you’ll note in the video above, once you look past the fact that CyberOne (also known as ‘Metal Bro’ — seriously) really is playing the drums, is that he’s not moving at all. Which makes sense — it’s very hard to play a drum kit and walk at the same time. It’s not impossible. It’s just impractical. But the seated position helps to disguise the fact that CyberOne… doesn’t walk all that well yet.
The other interesting point is the drum kit itself. Xiaomi’s robot is certainly playing the kit throughout but take a closer look. It’s a digital set rather than an old-school analogue setup. That’s because the robot is able to hit its (very likely preprogrammed) targets and operate the kicks as required. But the force and angles required to operate a more conventional setup aren’t present in the robot’s motions.
In short, CyberOne’s performance looks good because it’s been set up that way. But unless you’re looking to automate your drummer in a four-player game of Rock Band, this demo is supposed to make you go ‘ooh, shiny’ without really looking much further. Still, it’s yet another step along the road that leads to Will Smith, ‘retro’ sneakers, and an awesome robot named Sunny.
Source: IEEE Spectrum