Correction: In an earlier version of this story, it was reported that Yi attended Thailand University of the Arts for 11 years. This information was inaccurate. Yi attended Taipei National University of the Arts – not Thailand University of the Arts.
We sincerely apologize for the reporting error.
We live in an age where technology is constantly evolving.
Tech gurus and entrepreneurs are creating and programming new devices that have previously been unimaginable.
Huang Yi, a native of Taiwan, presents a tangible piece of technology, a fresh invention the public has yet to experience.
Yi programs a robot named Kuka and performs dance routines with it at different venues.
Sheri Parks, the College of Arts and Humanities associate dean for research moderated a talk with Huang Yi Thursday in Gildenhorn Recital Hall at The Clarice about his experiences in dance, programming and life.
Students and staff were also involved in the conversation, and were encouraged to ask questions.
Bowen Gong, a freshman mathematics major asked Yi if he had a nickname for the robot, because “Kuka” is the name of the model – not the individual device.
“It’s really easy for me to relate my emotions to many items,” Yi said. “So I try not to name them.”
The crowd of around 60 spectators were once again captivated by Yi’s summations of his own life and technology.
Yi said he is limited to certain movements in dancing, as a human, but his robot Kuka is not.
“[It’s like] I’m beginning to learn how to be a human,” he said.
Yi attended Taipei National University of the Arts, he said. He was isolated to that one area because of financial concerns and lackluster travel options.
He said he did not go to the beach until he was 25 years old because of this, and started to learn what it was like to experience life for the first time.
At one point during the event, Parks asked Yi what happens as he ages while Kuka grows “younger,” as he updates it to new models.
“I think Kuka still ages,” he said. “The one that I [have] is already past the guarantee, so if he’s sick then I have to pay more.”
Bethany Scheerer, a freshman accounting major, said she was confused at first because she thought the event would involve Yi actually dancing with Kuka. Yi performed with Kuka at The Clarice Friday.
“I thought it was really interesting how he viewed technology,” she said. “And [I] like how he said he […] is emotionally attached to objects, [like Kuka,] but then tries not to become too attached to them.”
Scheerer said Yi takes away the limitations some artists experience, such as how he deals with robotics, even though individuals generally think art has no limitations.
Yi also highlighted his process of programming Kuka and how he visited this university’s engineering classrooms with their very own “Kuka” robots. Parks said his movements tend to be more fluid when he’s interacting with the robots than the engineering students, perhaps because of his experiences in dance.
Bryce Peterson, a sophomore mechanical engineer he was naturally drawn to Yi and Kuka because of his interest in artificial intelligence.
“I have been thinking about how robots can express human characteristics,” Peterson said. “The fact that [Yi programs] what the movement of the robot will be in order to make it look vaguely human [and] to give the robot [human] inefficiencies was really interesting,” he said.
The self-proclaimed “duet of human and robot” performs internationally and continues to receive high praise.
Featured Photo Credit: Huang Yi, left, an internationally acclaimed Taiwanese dancer, discusses “Huang Yi & KUKA,” a dance choreography he designed with a robotic arm named KUKA. Sheri Parks, right, moderated the conversation. (Ryan Eskalis/Bloc Reporter)
Alex Carolan is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.