ASIMO Robot to Conduct the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Some short robots get all the cool gigs

ASIMO will focus attention on the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s (DSO) nationally acclaimed music programs for young people in Detroit by conducting the orchestra as it performs “Impossible Dream” to open a special concert performance with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma on Tuesday, May 13. (Pics)

ASIMO Robot to Conduct the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Honda hopes ASIMO’s appearance will draw attention to the DSO’s music education programs, and particularly the DSO’s effort to encourage and support involvement of children in Detroit.

In addition, ASIMO will demonstrate its unique capabilities for hundreds of area school children on May 14 prior to a specially arranged master class in Orchestra Hall, where a select group of music students will receive personal music instruction from Yo-Yo Ma. In attendance will be students from the Detroit School of Arts (DSA), Detroit Renaissance and Cass Technical high schools, as well as from schools across metro Detroit and Windsor, Canada.

ASIMO, which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, is designed to help people and will someday assist the elderly and disabled in their homes. But while Honda continues to develop and enhance ASIMO’s capabilities, ASIMO is being used today to encourage and inspire young students to consider studies in math and science. The addition of music education to ASIMO’s repertoire is a natural extension of these efforts.

 ASIMO Robot to Conduct the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

ASIMO is constructed with lightweight materials, including a magnesium alloy structure. Additionally, the robot possesses powerful computing capabilities. Here’s a summary of ASIMO’s key specifications, as listed by Honda:

  • Height — 51 in (130 cm)
  • Weight — 119 lbs (54 kg)
  • Walking speed — 1.7 mph (2.7 km/hour)
  • Running speed — 3.7 mph (6 km/hour)
  • Walking cycle — adjustable cycle and stride
  • Grasping force — 0.5 kg/hand (5 finger hand)
  • Actuator — servomotor; harmonic speed reducer; drive unit
  • Control unit — walk/operating control unit, wireless transmission unit
  • Sensors — foot: 6-axis foot area sensor; torso: gyroscope and acceleration sensor
  • 34 degrees of freedom (DOF) for “human” joints:
    • Head — 3 DOF (rotation; up/down nodding)
    • Arm — 14 DOF
    • Hand — 4DOF (not counting the joints for the 5 bending fingers)
    • Torso — 1 DOF
    • Legs — 12 DOF
  • Power — rechargeable 51.8V Lithium Ion battery
  • Operating time — 1 hour

Honda says it is giving the Detroit Symphony Orchestra a gift of more than $1 million to create The Power of Dreams Music Education Fund. The fund is intended to help the Detroit Public Schools, which have suffered from severe cost constraints that have hurt the district’s ability to provide music education, offer students the opportunity to learn to play instruments, read music, and participate in bands or orchestras.

ASIMO Robot to Conduct the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

For more details and photos of this unique humanoid robot, visit ASIMO’s website. A PDF file with detailed technical information can be downloaded here.