Piano player bot tickles the ivories in Taiwan

A man looks at the "Piano Robot" during the Taipei International Robot Show at the World Trade Center yesterday. Some 300 exhibitors from 66 companies are taking part in the four-day exhibition. (Credit: AFP Photo/Sam Yeh)

If you dig old-school player pianos, how about a pair of robotic hands that plays keyboard?

Visitors to the ongoing Taipei International Robot Show (TIROS) are getting an eyeful of a number of quirky robots, including a robot that uses 10 fingers to play tunes on a keyboard.

The bot is the work of Taiwan's HIWIN Technologies and can play complex melodies with its multiple digits. HIWIN makes ball screws and components such as linear motors, which were used in the keyboard player.

A robot horse-drawn cart on display at TIROS. (Credit: Feton Automation Industrial )

HIWIN reportedly said its player is the first to use 10 fingers to tickle the ivories.

However, it seems to be less sophisticated than WABOT 2, a humanoid musician developed in Japan over a quarter-century ago. As seen in this video, WABOT 2 could play tunes with both hands and operate keyboard pedals with its feet. (It could also read notation.) The WABOT tech went into Honda's Asimo and the HRP series of humanoids.

TIROS, which runs through Friday, attracted over 60 exhibitors of robot technologies, including a bizarre robot horse-drawn cart by Feton Automation Industrial.

HIWIN's piano robot is slated to appear at the 25th Japan International Machine Tool Fair, which starts October 28 in Tokyo.

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