Musical Furniture


Stage performances present many challenges and opportunities in the field of robotics. Here we create a family of furniture robots that look and act like organic entities for the production of Death and the Powers. Mei-Mei is a six-legged walking robot that is being developed in the lab as a moving workbench. It can move forward, backward, and even turn around with differential steering control. Di-Di is a modular robot that can transform itself into a sofa onstage and walk with a rolling, lurching, and gliding motion. These two robots will also be endowed with interactive behavior structured around scenes, beats, and actions. The design of these robots not only incorporates technological, conceptual, and aesthetic innovations, but also coordinates with narrative and musical materials in the opera.