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

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.

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.”

Business

4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

This very talented robotic leg learned to walk all by itself

Researchers at the University of Southern California have developed a robotic limb capable of walking without preprogrammed knowledge of the task. It’s an impressive feat that could help future robots navigate the world independently.
Emerging Tech

Mind-bending model shows Venus isn’t our nearest neighbor — it’s Mercury

Every textbook and table on the internet agrees -- the closest planet to Earth is Venus. But a new mathematical model shows that this is wrong. In fact, the planet closest to us on average is Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Emerging Tech

Desk lamps take on a new task by converting their light to power

What if we could charge devices using light from indoor sources like desk lamps? A group of scientists working on a technology called organic photovoltaics (OPVs) aim to do just that.
Emerging Tech

Body surrogate robot helps people with motor impairments care for themselves

A team from Georgia Tech has come up with an assistant robot to help people who have severe motor impairments to perform tasks like shaving, brushing their hair, or drinking water.
Emerging Tech

New Hubble image displays dazzling Messier 28 globular cluster

Messier 28 is a group of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius, located 18,000 light-years from our planet. Thousands of stars are packed tightly together in this sparkling image.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Computing

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.