Watch a Robotic DJ Perform at a Prague Nightclub
If you heard the words "robot DJ," you might be inclined to think, "isn't that just a jukebox? Or a playlist set to shuffle?" But that's not completely true: neither of those things can scratch records and wave their arm in the air to keep the crowd going. Not like a certain nightclub's newest hire.
The Karlove Lazne club in Prague recently challenged the robotics company Kuka to put together a robot which could handle DJ sets all on its own. They were up to the challenge: repurposing an old machine from the automotive industry, the result was a mechanical arm which uses custom software to queue up songs, and can pick up and move CDs with its pincer.
See one of the only robotic arm DJs in the Czech Republic below:
As for why a club needs a robot DJ, there's no real answer beyond novelty. The arm doesn't even have the full night to itself — it usually plays for about an hour before a human DJ (and its programmer) steps in to take over. If things continue smoothly, it may get longer sets, but it's only been running for about three weeks now.
This is more of a "we made it because it's cool" sort of robot, rather than a "this will change the world" sort of robot. But a robot DJ, especially one that's just a music-selecting arm, is harmless enough that it shouldn't get involved in any robot uprisings anytime soon.
Speaking to Reuters, club manager Adam Lipsansky said the following:
Not that we should be doing this sort of thing in the first place, but DJs might be one of the more difficult jobs to automate. Artificial intelligence might have a knack for composing music, specifically black metal music, but interacting with crowds is a completely different matter.
An important part of being a DJ is figuring out what gets a good response from the crowd, and the robotic arm hasn't got much of a sense for that. But it can wave its arm around, which is pretty neat.