The Karlovy Lazne Music Club in Prague employed a repurposed KUKA Automotive Industrial robot as a DJ. (Image credit: KUKA)
They were designed and created for industrial automation, a tool to advance the human race to an elevated status beyond menial labor and usher in an era of precision manufacturing. Of course, when they outlive their usefulness, they go on to be DJs in posh Prague nightclubs laying down fresh beats with a unique techno twist, well at least one of them does. In a recent article from Reuters, the Karlovy Lazne Music Club has employed a KUKA Automotive Industry robotic arm to serve as a DJ at the famous nightclub.
The giant arm (not clear which version of KUKA’s robotic arm it is) has been modified from its original version to feature a pincer-type appendage it can use to perform ‘deck duties’- scratching, selecting and mixing tracks, etc. The robot DJ came about after the club’s owner challenged a robotics firm if they could make it happen and they delivered.
The DJ is mounted to a stage above the clubs dance floor where it’s equipped with special software that allows it to select individual disks (racked on either side of it) and play them on three turntables positioned in front of the arm. Surprisingly, the arm isn’t an open-to-close mix-master but instead works in tandem with a human programmer on an hourly rotation.
Karlovy Lazne wasn’t the first club to employ a robotic DJ. Back in 2016, during Ford’s launch of their new Fiesta at a gala event in Germany, the company featured a scratch-match between DJ Yoda and ABB Robotics’ dual-armed YuMi, an industrial robot designed to work alongside humans and is powered by machine-learning algorithms to perform new skills.
While robots have been adapted for use in many industrial applications and machine/human work settings for some time now, they’re beginning to show up for work in some unusual positions dominated by humans such as Baristas, Bartenders, and even Dancers. While I think it’s interesting to see what can be done with industrial automation, I never once thought a DJ would be on that list. But why not, a robotic metal band has been around for a while now and even a robot orchestra performed during the opening of the EuroScience Open Forum in the summer of 2016.
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