A Bipedal Humanoid Robot Plays Drums

The CyberOne, which was introduced in August 2022 by Xiaomi Global, is a fully functioning bipedal humanoid robot that can take on a variety of tasks, including playing the drums. At this time, the robot can only keep a basic beat and human drummers, especially those who understand complex time signatures or play with one hand, are not in any danger of being replaced. The technology is impressive, nonetheless.

The input for this performance is a MIDI file, which the robot is able to parse into drum beats. It then generates song-length sequences of coordinated whole-body trajectories which are synchronized to the music, which is tricky because the end effectors have to make sure to actuate the drums exactly on the beat. 

Engineer Zeyu Ren spoke with IEEE to explain how this demonstration came about.

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. 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.

Here’s the August 2022 introduction to CyberOne.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.