Robot of the Week: Toyota's Trumpet Playing Robot

In a moment of writer's block this afternoon, I received an instant message from my boss informing me of the proper spelling of Dromeceiomimus. Which led me to contemplate the possibility of learning about a new dinosaur every day (and in fact you can follow my personal Twitter account to do just that). Which ultimately led to my discovering Robot a Day, which sadly does not have actual robots. Eureka! I can post about a new robot every day on The Launch Pad! Well, I think it's best to take it slow at first, so I present to you a new column: Robot of the Week.

This week's robot is one of my all-time favorites, the Toyota Partner Robot. Originally intended as a companion robot, the coolest feature of this particular humanoid is its ability to play the trumpet. A set of two pneumatic bladders in its mouth continuously change internal pressure to adjust embouchure and play a variety of pitches. It can even play vibrato.

A Stevie Wonder classic:

And that's not all: Toyota has developed several similar robots to form an entire marching band!

Note that the drums looks alarmingly like Rock Band. Also I'm fairly sure that he'll go through a phase in the late 2070s where he experiments with tape splicing, and by the 2080s he'll look something like this:

nickazer said...

You gotta feature NASA's ATHLETE lunar rover, if that counts as a robot, sometime--saw it in a rendering in Honeywell's lunar architecture workshop presentation (from last week), wondered what the heck that spider-looking thing was, and found this:

It can actually split into two sub-robots to pick up loads, and will be able to grapple-hook up slopes like Batman :D

It's the single coolest lunar thing I've seen so far re: the Base Race and/or the X PRIZE :)

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