We have been developing anthropomorphic flutist robots which mechanical design is similar to the human organs (lungs, neck, lips, fingers, tonguing, and vibrato) needed for playing the flute. Since 1990, the aim of this research is for clarifying the flute playing mechanism from an engineering viewpoint and for enabling the communication with humans at emotional level.

We are developing the human mimetic performance and a real-time interaction system for collaborating with a flutist player.
Click the below links to jump to the details of the previous flutist robot.

the Anthropomorphic Flutist Robot WF-3RIX
Music Performance Activities
Mr. Wakamatsu (our technical adviser) Home Page

In 2003, in order to improve the expression at the time of flute performance, we developed the new anthropomorphic flutist robot WF-4iWaseda Flutist No.4), which is more similar to human-like shape and a mechanism that generates better flute sound.
In the following sections descriptions of each part of WF-4 will be presented.

The function of the lips during the flute playing is to control the air beam that has a high effect on flute sound. With the previous lips mechanism of WF-3, because the air beam angle was controlled by turning the posture of the flute, the air beam was disrupted so that performance was unstable. Therefore, we developed the new lips mechanism which can control the air beam with high accuracy and succeeded in the improvement of the flute sound quality without moving the flute.

The neck consists of 4-DOF, it is possible to play the flute as similar to human posture.

We improved the lungs from the former one bellowphragm, consisting of two piston cylinders. The total capacity of the lungs is 8.12*10-1[m3] which is almost equal to that of a male adult.

The vibrato mecanism changes the area of the throat such that it vibrates the air beam that is sent out from the lung. We installed the vibrato mechanism in the rear of the neck, bringing the robot closer to human shape.

The fingers have the same mechanism that was developed in 2002 for WF-3. All fingers can open and close the flute key in 1[s] 8 times.

The control PC consists of a PC/AT compatible CPU board and the D/A board, the counter board and digital I/O board that are connected through the PCI bus. This control PC generates all the control commands for all DC servomotors of WF-4.

MIDI Tone Generator Module performs the accompaniment from speker systemileft,right and sub-wooferjwhich is front of the WF-4. The details are here.

Wf-4 has the advanced performance systems. We are developing the human mimetic performance and a real-time interaction system for collaborating with a flutist player.

The MIDI accompaniment system of WF-4 consists of two computers, one for controlling the robot and one for generating MIDI data for accompaniment, which controls the robotfs musical performance. Two computers are connected by the MIDI system, and the control of the peformance synchronization is done by using the timing clock from the MIDI signal.

WF-4 can collaborate with a human flutist. We developed an advanced interaction system with the robot using four sensors for collaboration. This system sense the motion (arms, stomach and foot) of the flutinst and control the performance of the robot (start timing, tempo, vibrato gain and vibrato frequency). This system has user-friendly interface, so that the co-performaer can collaborate with the robot after a little practice.

We developed a gPerformance Analyzing Toolh, which outputs time-scale parameters of the flutist performance. Based on the analysis of these parameters, the tool generates automatically the robot control data. Therefore WF-4 can play the Human-mimetic flute peformance.

WF-4 movie(mpg/8885KB)

The professional flutist-mimetic
flute peformance of WF-4

( click here to view the movie )

[ Flute Quartet@Ktv.298 ]
composed by Mozart

A part of this research was done at the Humanoid Robotics Institute (HRI), Waseda University. This research was supported (in part) by a Gifu-in-Aid for the WABOT-HOUSE Project by Gifu Prefecture.
Humanoid Robotics Institute, Waseda University


Last update 2003.11.28

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