ABB collaborative robot YuMi celebrates conducting debut with Andrea Bocelli
YuMi, the dual-arm robot made by Swiss technology firm ABB, was a host conductor on Tuesday at the Teatro Verdi, in Pisa, Italy. The collaborative robot took the stage with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra in front of 800 guest, where they performed “La Donna è Mobile,” the famous aria from Verdi’s “Rigoletto.”
“It was so much fun to perform with YuMi,” Bocelli said after the concert for the gala of the First International Festival of Robotics. “It showed that a robot could really conduct an orchestra, but only with the excellent work of very talented engineers and a real maestro.”
Meastro Andrea Colombini, director of the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra, helped prepare YuMi for the event in two steps. In rehearsals Colombini’s movement were captured with a process called “lead-through programming,” where the robot’s two arms were guided to follow the motions, followed by the second step, which involved fine-tuning the movements in ABB’s RobotStudio software, where the motions were synchronized to the music. The whole process took only two days.
“I think tonight we’re truly making history and writing the future of robotics applications,” said ABB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ulrich Spiesshofer, under whose leadership YuMi was developed. “YuMi demonstrated how intuitive, how self-learning this machine is – how wonderful our software really is in learning the movement of a conductor, sensing the music, and really conducting an entire team.”