Loc: Georgia, USA
Not as good as a player machine, since there don't seem to be any dynamics. Looks like the "fingers" are clear plastic. The hands don't shift side to side so that's why there are 19 fingers. The repertoire would be pretty limited.
So I don't think we're in any danger of being replaced as players by this machine...
Loc: Montreal Canada
Hurray for human ingenuity but who needs yet another machine? Especially one that plays (bad) music. I'd still rather spend my time sweating at learning to play the piano than listen to that contraption.
A real advance would be an interface that connects my brain to a piano, this way I could play anything that I would care to imagine In the meantime, give me a good robot that does dishes, vacuums, does the wash, cleans the windows and takes the garbage out. THAT would at least be useful and maybe even entertaining!
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright. Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.
Loc: Reseda, California
There was a similar device in the early 20th century called the "Vorsetzer". It didn't have a humanoid appearance, it had 88 fingers, and played analog recordings that were made on a piano that was rigged with carbon rods dipping into mercury. That gave it dynamics.
This is just a player machine, right? It looked to me like the "fingers" were just hologram images and not actually pressing down on the keys.
No, it's actually playing. If you look closely (I've got a 42" monitor so that helps) his "fingers" are actually clear Plexiglas that do press the keys but the annoying purple lights that flash on and off as each one moves makes it hard to see what is actually happening.
I can download the song from iTunes for $.99, and probably get it free somewhere else. I have some great speakers attached to my computer too. Why would I spend $3000 on a mutant robot that can't use a sustain pedal or play a decent repertoire?
On a more serious tone, I still think they are doing it wrong. A better analogue for the human hand uses pneumatic artificial muscles, and it is much more responsive and capable of fine details. It's more difficult to make and the pneumatic part can be particularly difficult because it need a lightweight, quiet air compressor. Nonetheless, if you want a robot that plays piano like a human, then try to do it right. A computer IS theoretically capable of playing better than a human due to speed, precision, and extra fingers. But making a robot, rather than a software program, is very inefficient.
Well, it's refreshing to know that when it comes to playing the piano, humans are still far superior to robots.
Robots do excel at being cheap, so you get what you pay for. This charming 6-year-old, with her mishaps, tempo problems and all, no doubt has cost her parents more than the maker of that robot, and will continue to cost exponentially more, but the experience is priceless. Even with all the mistakes, I still prefer her rendition than the robot.
_________________________ Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci