Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Watch an Epic Duet Between Human and Robot

D-briefBy Lauren SigfussonNovember 28, 2017 2:02 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Huang Yi rehearses with robot 'KUKA' at 3-Legged Dog. (Credit: Jacob Blickenstaff) Dance can be defined as "a series of movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music." Notice it doesn't say dance is specific to humans — and this performance proves it. A Taiwanese choreographer, dancer and inventor named Huang Yi programmed and created a robot to dance with. This isn't the first time machines and humans have shared the dance floor — Cirque du Soleil choreographed a magical sequence filled with twirling, flying drones that looked like lampshades. But something's different about Huang's and his robot's (called KUKA) performance. It evokes a sense of intimacy, of struggle, of reliance. In this video of the duet, the two move effortlessly, seeming to become one. Well, until Huang transitions to the floor and KUKA stays put, continuing its arm movements. At the end, Huang and KUKA finally recognize each other for what they truly are: man and machine, coexisting and collaborating. According to a 2016 story in The Sydney Morning Herald, Huang says he sometimes forgets KUKA is a robot. During a performance last year, he said he forgot his dance moves (hey, we're only human): "At that moment, KUKA led the dance and I followed. It felt really special, as if he was alive, took my hand and told me to trust him and we finished the performance together.''

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In