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Robot DJ spins, scratches, and dances the night away at Prague nightclub

The first robotic DJ KUKA - Karlovy Lazne, Prague CZ
The Karlovy Lazne Music Club in Prague has a new employee — a robot DJ that gets the crowd jumping at the popular five-story nightclub, according to a report from Reuters. The robot uses software to help it select songs, scratches records, and even dances along to the beat.

“Kuka,” which is also the company that manufactured the robotic arm, began life as an automotive industry robot, and ended up with the record-spinner gig after the club issued a challenge to a robotics firm.

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Club manager Adam Lipsansky said the unique attraction draws customers in. “People are excited (about the robot), because they haven’t seen anything like this around Europe, and I am not sure if there is something similar in the world,” he said.

The robot keeps the party going with its human programmer as they swap out hourly shifts. Lipansky admits that the robot’s people skills may be a bit lacking. “He knows everything like a human DJ. He is only unable to react to people, to how they are behaving,” he said.

As to Lipinsky’s claim about the MC mech, this is hardly the first time that robots have served DJ duty in clubs. In fact, a Ford Fiesta commercial from 2016 showcased the very premise of a professional DJ trying to teach an automotive assembly robot how to perform.

The versatile Kuka robotic arms can be programmed for a variety of tasks, which you can see in the Nigel Stanford-robot musical collaboration Automatica. They’ve even partnered with an amusement park ride maker to create RoboCoaster, and a Kuka robot performed at the Paralympics Opening Ceremony in Rio in 2016.

We’ve already got robot baristas, robot bartenders, and even robot dancers. Why not robot DJs? The reviews are mixed among Czech partiers.

“The robot is very good,” said a student named Sebastian. “I like it very much.”

On the other hand, some clubgoers found the experience too … robotic. “I don’t like the robot. It can’t feel what the people want to dance to,” said Marcia Lopes, 24. “There is no emotion behind the music. When there is a real person, they know, what fun is like.”

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