Today’s non-conformist robots don’t want to work in your factories and vacuum your floors, maaan. These babies were born — or more accurately, carefully constructed in a laboratory — to rock.
First, there were the flying drones from the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Laboratory who totally wowed a TED crowd with a sweet cover of the James Bond theme. Now we have live concert footage of Drexel University’s own Fab Four — this time made up of autonomous HUBO robots.
The performance of the Beatles’ “Come Together” was put on by Drexel’s Music and Entertainment Technology Laboratory (MET-Lab), who outfitted the band with a drum kit and three “Hubophones,” custom PVC pipe instruments that look like something the Blue Man Group might play.
It’s important to note that these aren’t audio-animatronic machines like the singing animals in the Country Bear Jamboree at Disney World. The HUBO robots are programmed with all the musical know-how to produce the right notes according to a given musical score.
That means the HUBO and the Hubonauts (as I’ve just now dubbed them) can theoretically play anything you give them. Imagine having your own robot house band who could turn out stiff versions of all of your rock and roll favorites on a moment’s notice. Request some Peter Frampton or T-Pain and you won’t even notice the weird robot voice! Everybody wins.