Professional ballerina – Merritt Moore is quite a popular dancer, however, like everyone else, the pandemic affected her as well. He was left in isolation without a dance partner, however, this fact did not stop him.
It is noteworthy that Moore is not only an extraordinary dancer, but also an Oxford scientist – a doctor of atomic and laser physics.
In early 2020, the Quarantine Ballerina spent 6 weeks working at Harvard ArtLab. He was trying to find a cross between robotics and dance, and when Lockdown began, he contacted robot maker Universal Robotics. He asked to create a model that would not be bored during the quarantine period.
Already in August, Moore adopted Baryshnibot – a robot who later became his dance partner – at a London apartment.
Clearly, dancing requires coordinated action by different muscles, however, Baryshnibot is not a humanoid. It is a simple robotic that has several “joints”. It was a big challenge for Moore to find the right choreographic approach for him.
“I loved puzzles as a child. Attempting a robot to be able to repeat dance movements in parallel with a human, when unlike him a person has a head, two arms and two legs, can be considered an attempt to solve the puzzle,” Moore said. Offers new forms, which is very inspiring for him.
Moore began training the robot with 15-second, pop-up movements. The robot was repeating the movements of the ballerina, giving the impression that they were dancing together. After that, each dance program needed at least 5 hours of training in order for the robot to be able to dance like a human. It was difficult to program a robot to perform movements that required plasticity.
The first short clip, in which a ballerina danced with a robot, appeared in September. And in November, Moore released another video showing progress, including a three-minute ballet party.
And as for how specifically the ballerina managed to teach the robot to dance – Moore started preparing for it much earlier. At the time, she was living in Norway and was a national ballet dancer. At the time, she was wearing a motion recorder to turn dance movements into data. He has since tried to find a way to use this data to train his artificial intelligence. She used this data to teach dance to Baryshnibot. Now he believes that one day, Baryshnibot will be able to teach him new movements.