Video: The humanoid robot CyberOne is playing a drum set without missing any beat

Don't worry, human drummers. It won't take your job.
Nergis Firtina
CyberOne is playing drum set.
CyberOne is playing drum set.

IEEE Spectrum/Youtube 

One of the best qualities of talented drummers is to be able to show all their dexterity by staying in the metronome beats. Xiaomi should be aware of this because the humanoid bot it produces is on its way to becoming a rock star.

Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi introduced CyberOne in August and shared a fresh video of it playing drums. Slow for now, but it can stay on the beat.

It is able to accurately coordinate a variety of intricate movements, such as slapping the drumsticks together, tapping the cymbals, using the foot pedal, and using a set of four drums to produce a variety of sounds.

How did CyberOne learn to do that?

This performance uses a MIDI file as its input, which the robot can decode into drum beats, IEEE Spectrum reported. Then, it constructs song-length sequences of synchronized whole-body trajectories, which is challenging because the end effectors must ensure that the drums are actuated precisely on the beat. Even when it's moving back and forth across the drum kit, CyberOne performs pretty well.

"After the official release of Xiaomi CyberOne on August 11, we got a lot of feedback from the public who didn’t have a background in robotics. They are more interested in seeing humanoid robots doing things that humans cannot easily do. Honestly speaking, it’s pretty difficult to find such scenarios, since we know that the first prototype of CyberOne is far behind humans," Zeyu Ren, a senior hardware engineer at the Xiaomi Robotics Lab, told IEEE Spectrum.

"But one day, one of our engineers who had just begun to play drums suggested that drumming may be an exception. She thought that compared to rookie drummers, humanoid robots have more advantages in hand-foot coordinated motion and rhythmic control. We all thought it was a good idea, and drumming itself is super cool and interesting. So we choose drumming to demonstrate our research," he also added.

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More about CyberOne

As Xiaomi said in the press release, the company's first humanoid robot, CyberOne, made its debut on August its new product presentation event in Beijing, alongside other revolutionary products.

"CyberOne's AI and mechanical capabilities are all self-developed by Xiaomi Robotics Lab. We have invested heavily in R&D spanning various areas, including software, hardware, and algorithms innovation," says Lei Jun, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Xiaomi Group.

CyberOne is a humanoid robot that is 177 cm tall, weighs 52 kg, and has an arm span of 168 cm. This humanoid robot is more mechanically complex than a quadruped robot, needing more potent motors, degrees of freedom, and sophisticated humanoid biped control algorithms. CyberOne can imitate human movements entirely since it supports up to 21 degrees of freedom in motion and achieves a real-time response speed of 0.5ms for each degree of freedom.