Robots Can Do Anything, But Jazz Is for Humans
Tom Spendlove posted on June 02, 2017 | 1301 views

Gael Langevin developed InMoov, the open-sourced and 3D printed robot, to give anyone a chance to build their own robot. We’ve covered his work before and he had a huge week at the Bucharest Technology Week conference, discussing InMoov on local tv stations and demonstrating the system to schools and the general public. Currently InMoov can be taught to speak English, Spanish, French, Russian and Dutch – one Romanian graphic designer has plans to add Romanian to the list.

Langevin’s other project this year was to build robots that weren’t good enough to play jazz. TSF Jazz commissioned the bots for an advertising campaign. A great set of requirements were put in front of him for the project: the robots needed full articulation, three different robots were required, the robots needed to look industrial, and they needed to have sad expressions based just on body language. The entire project needed to be finished in twenty five days.

The three robots, even without the requirements of movement and the space constraints of motors, were treated like any other project for Gael. Design constraints and requirements were laid out in a bulleted project management format. InMoov components were used where possible and then separate face and head systems were built for each specific bot. The teachable moment here for students of engineering and innovation is that we reuse what we can, especially the stuff that's already working well, and we redesign the rest.

Even though these systems are more like highly functioning sculptures than fully realized robots this is still an amazing engineering project. All three bots will be on display with InMoov at the Paris Maker Faire this year. A quick search for robots that could be used for genres outside of heavy metal yielded Shimon, a four armed robot that played Moogfest in 2016. Shimon has been taught to improvise through several musical styles, and the long reach and cold calculated movements can allow the playing of several instruments at once with incredible speed. Additionally, Varien and Razihel have an interesting song called Toothless Hawkins (and His Robot Jazz Band).

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