Let’s start this blog post with one of Toyota’s Partner Robots. This robot staged a neat trumpet-playing performance at the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, which is in Nagoya.
A trumpet-playing robot with wide eyes and a jaunty little feather can endear itself to a crowd. As this robot played “Moon River” and a few other tunes, I noticed how much the children in the audience especially enjoyed the performance.
Meanwhile, a floor below, the less glamorous industrial robots were demonstrating how car chassis are welded and painted. For the record, I found the industrial robots just as exciting:
I’ve always loved animation. I’ve hardly ever been a morning person but, as a kid, what got me out of bed extra early was watching morning cartoons. My own line drawings were static scenes on a page, but Superman, Aquaman, The Wonder Twins, The Masters of the Universe, The Jetsons and other cartoons changed my sense of what a line can do. The sheer kinetic energy of cartoons magically brings line drawings to life. Robots, too, have always given me a sense of vivification, of breathing life into materials that might otherwise be inanimate. It’s an impulse that never gets old and of course it extends well beyond drawing and robotics: take a seemingly lifeless world and enchant it.