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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May)

Waseda rediscovery

Cover Photograph: Yoichi Sato (Professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences)

cover story

Performance that eclipses professionals

In 1985, the world’s attention was attracted by a robot performing “Aria in G” on an electronic organ. The robot performed together with the NHK Symphony Orchestra at the opening ceremony of the Tsukuba Science Exposition.

The robot was able to talk freely with human beings, to read musical notation, and to play the electronic organ with both hands and both feet.

The WABOT (WAseda robot) Project began through the efforts of Ichiro Kato (deceased; School of Science and Engineering) who was called the “father of Japanese robot development.” The project featured participation from a variety of department and laboratories such as those specializing in motion, conversation, vision and control systems.

Professor Kato worked under the theme of social welfare to develop robots which are capable of coexisting with human beings. As a center for the creation of humanoid robots, Waseda has broadly inherited the spirit of Professor Kato and continues to release a wide variety of robots.

Even today, the organ-playing robot is acclaimed as a musician robot using the world’s most advanced technology. Together with the world’s first humanoid WABOT-1 robots, the organ-playing robot watches over science and engineering students studying on the Nishi-Waseda Campus.