Robot conducts orchestra

An android robot has conducted South Korea’s National Orchestra for the first time in the country’s history

Robot conducts orchestra

Although South Korea’s EveR 6 android can’t hear, it’s capable of memorizing and replicating the movements of a human conductor

A robot has debuted as an orchestra conductor in South Korea, emulating the success of several predecessors elsewhere around the world. The developers of EveR 6 said they planned to enable the machine to improvise down the road as opposed to merely replicating what it has learned. 

Last Friday, EveR 6 conducted a performance by more than 60 musicians of the National Orchestra of Korea before an audience of nearly 1,000 people. 

The Android robot worked both independently and collectively with a human colleague.

Friday’s performance marked the first time in South Korea’s history that a robot had been used as a conductor. However, several other models have done it elsewhere in recent years. 

Developed by South Korea’s Institute of Industrial Technology, the android is programmed to memorize and replicate the movements of a human conductor with the help of motion capture technology. 

While at present EveR 6 is ‘deaf’ and cannot improvise, its creators have revealed that they are working on adding these features. 

Song Joo-ho, a music columnist who attended the performance, has been quoted by the media as agreeing that making non-programmed gestures and reacting to possible mistakes by musicians would constitute the next big step for the technology. 

Speaking during a press conference after one of EveR 6’s rehearsals late last month, one of the men behind the project, Lee Dong-wook, expressed hope that in the future the robot would reach a stage “where a conductor can use it as an auxiliary tool requesting a specific beat.” 

Conductor Soo-Yeoul Choi, who rehearsed with the android, has told media that he does envisage scenarios where such robots could be utilized as an aide going forward. He noted, however, that, in his opinion, machines were unlikely to replace human conductors.