Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli’s voice soared to the rafters of a Tuscan theatre, but all eyes were on YuMi, an automaton designed by Swiss company ABB. It consists only of a small unit with two arms and is placed on a table. It has no face, no legs, no fancy features.

The robot ‘YuMi’ conducted three of the 18 pieces performed at the concert, including the famous La Donna e’  mobile from Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpiece Rigoletto.

The robot was trained by Italian conductor Andrea Colombini. He also claimed that YuMi was extremely difficult to train.

“There’s no way it could replace the sensitivity and emotion of a conductor, because a robot has no soul. It’s just an arm, not the brain, not the heart,” Colombini said.

Andrea colombini said the automaton was far more sophisticated than its ‘rival’ Asimo, the white four-foot (1.2-metre) robot designed by Honda which conducted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2008.


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