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Can Robots Find the Rhythm and Be "Moved by Music"?

By Elina Melteig, University of Oslo, April 11, 2023

Music can be used to get people to move to the beat, but can you apply the same trick to robots?

Have you ever tried standing completely still when your favourite song comes on? It’s difficult not to move your body when a catchy tune is played. Standing still to a good beat is actually so difficult that it has triggered an avalanche of research projects. One of them looks at whether music can also be used to get robots to move to a beat.

"A big focus of our research is the involuntary and irresistible urge to move to a good beat," says postdoctoral fellow Alexander Szorkovszky

Szorkovszky works at RITMO Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion at the University of Oslo. He wants to find out whether it is possible to coordinate robots using the rhythms that can be found in music.

(...) “In order for people to want to move, the rhythm should have the right complexity. It gets boring if the rhythm is too simple. If it is too complex, it becomes difficult to identify the beat,” he explains and adds “This robot does not currently have the ability to experience boredom, so it works well with simple rhythms”.

(...) So far, Szorkovszky has proven that it is possible to control a robot using simple beats. In time, he intends to test whether robots can coordinate their movements with music and with one another. They also intend to test the experiment using physical prototypes.

Read more about this fascinating topic on the University of Oslo's website where it was initially published.

This article was first published by Titan (in Norwegian). Top photo by Elina Melteig.

Thanks to Tristra Yeager for sharing this on LinkedIn.


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