Robots Take Up Drumming

The taiko drumming robots were showcased at the Kokura Gion Daiko Festival in Kitakyushu, Japan. (Image credit: Robot Watch)

Four industrial robots gave factory floor managers (not to mention post office supervisors) the slip this week to try a new gig - traditional Japanese taiko drumming.

The robots were special guests at the 400 year-old Kokura Gion Daiko Festival in Kitakyushu, famous for traditional drumming competitions (see taiko robot drummer video).

Yaskawa Electric worked with organizers for four months to teach its robots. The word "taiko" means "great drum" or "wide drum." Early taiko drumming was done on the battlefield and at court ceremonies in ancient Japan. The modern ensemble style, in which a variety of drums are played at once, dates from the 1960's. Jazz drummer Daihachi Oguchi was invited to perform at a temple and decided to give the performance a jazz flair.

I'm really elated by this new use of robots; I think these Japanese Yaskawa robots would be great accompanying one of my favorite turntablists and scratch artists - Juke Bot, from Kuka Roboter in Germany (see video). Now, that's world music.

If you are interested in music and robotics, check out the Miuro Autonomous Music Robot, Japanese Robots Dancing to their iPods and Sega idog Robot Puppy.

Read more about robot taiko drummer and Kuka Juke Bots. Two of the Japanese robots were featured prominently in an earlier story - Robot Workers Ready To Go Postal.

(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from - where science meets fiction.)

  • Video: Watch Robots Play Soccer
  • Vote For Your Favorite Real Robot
  • All About Robots
Bill Christensen catalogues the inventions, technology and ideas of science fiction writers at his website, Technovelgy. He is a contributor to Live Science.