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Teaching a robot to feel, live on the opera stage

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Myon is a shiny white humanoid robot and the star of My Square Lady, an opera that opened this month in Berlin's Komische Oper in Germany. The operatic robot is a product of the Neurorobotics Research Laboratory at Berlin's Humboldt University and the European Union's Artificial Language Evolution on Autonomous Robot's project. Myon sings, of course, and it shuffles in stilted, mechanical motions while interacting with the rest of the carbon-based performers. No one controls Myon from backstage -- researchers and the cast worked with the robot for two years, teaching it how to sing with the orchestra, move around the stage, and react to visual and auditory cues. The opera itself is all about Myon, a robot trying to learn what it means to be human and feel emotion.

My Square Lady isn't the first stage performance to feature a singing robot: As Vice reports, Japanese playwright Oriza Hirata premiered I, Worker in 2008, and even Asimo learned how to sing and dance back in 2010. And then there's AIST's HRP-4C fashion robot, which does... this. Uncanny.

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