Museum Update

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Updated my earlier post about the Toyota Museums: TAM and TCMIT; including correcting the names and adding links.

Today I thought I would add our supposedly unforgettable experience that I forgot to write up: we saw (and heard) the Toyota Partner Robot. I find it amusing that everything in the robot’s show is translated to English for us, but if you go to the English language website for the museum, there is no information about the robot.

This robot was really played up during EXPO because it performs with a trumpet. People waited for 6 hours in line in blazing heat to get a glimpse of it. Now he is giving performances in the lobby for anyone who is willing to listen: isn’t fame fleeting and harsh? It was nice to finally get a close up look. I was really wanting to see how they made lips on a robot, since emboucher is so important to playing brass instruments. This was perhaps the most disappointing  aspect of the robot.

Regardless of the claims that he plays an ordinary trumpet, he has no lips and the “mouthpiece” is a special device to connect his “mouth” to the trumpet. It amounts to a coupling valve, much like you might use to connect a hose to an air compressor.

His repertoire was very amusing and he made no apparent mistakes, but the sound was very hard and mechanical sounding. When they make a robot that can use a standard mouthpiece, we can expect a proper sound. I’ll try not to hold my breath for that.

I would have to say that watching Asimo run around is more technically impressive. Toyota will soon be the number one car company, but Honda seems to have a lead in the robotics development.

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