UTT Home theme theme theme | Staff Directory| Search | Feedback | myUTT | Contact UTT

Press Releases

Display Archived Results
March 25, 2010
 A Music Festival Victory for UTT
March 16, 2010
 MSc Industrial Innovation Entrepreneurship & Management
March 16, 2010
 UTT- Providing Education with a Global Vision
March 16, 2010
 A New Experience in the Arts
January 31, 2010
 UTT Rugby Player Honoured
January 29, 2010
 Wiltshire to defend First Citizens Chess title
January 29, 2010
 UTT seek three-in-a-row in All Sectors League
January 27, 2010
 UTT beat champions Fire
January 13, 2010
 UTT to grant doctorates to Sir Ellis Clarke and Prof. John Spence
January 13, 2010
 UTTs Performance Arts Curriculum in September
November 20, 2009
 Volleyball star loved family
October 13, 2009
 UTT to grant doctorates to Clarke and Spence
September 14, 2009
 UTT Offers Certificate in Yoruba Language and Culture
August 27, 2009
 Getting Into The Goat Business
July 17, 2009
 100 UTT students to work at sport camps
June 16, 2009
 UTT students giving back
June 5, 2009
 Chalkie: Put the craft back into smut
May 22, 2009
 Fuel Your Performance
May 6, 2009
 UTT A beats B in table tennis league
April 13, 2009
 UTT unveils MHA programme
April 1, 2009
 UTT takes time out for style
March 24, 2009
 UTT signs MOU for sports development
March 20, 2009
 Schoolboys score shock chess victories
March 20, 2009
 IAYS launches 'Game On' programme for children
February 18, 2009
 UTT lead going into break
February 11, 2009
 UTT bests UWI in TSTT-powered debate
January 26, 2009
 George, Ottley lead UTT to second straight win
January 25, 2009
 Robot masters the tabla
January 24, 2009
 UWI/UTT students for debate at Petroleum Conference
January 2, 2009
 Non-alcoholic UTT

Robot masters the tabla

Trinidad and Tobago Guardian
January 25th, 2009
You can't put a price on Thumru's head, simply because the tabla-playing robot, invented by University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) Prof Prakash Persad and his team, doesn't have one. But once the computer to which Thumru is attached is turned on, that missing head is all but forgotten in amazement at the deftness of the tabla-playing robot's six "fingers."
In all, Thumru-which Persad says is the name of a celestial musician-has been programmed to master six taals or distinctive beats of the tabla. During the playing of one of the taals, the "fingers" move faster than any human hands. Persad, 54, a practising SWAHA pundit, is an adept tabla player, and it is no idle boast of his that it is difficult-if not impossible-to distinguish between the music played by robot and human. Before UTT, where he is based on the O'Meara campus in Arima, Persad taught for 26 years at UWI, St Augustine. There, in the Faculty of Engineering, he specialised in the fields of control systems and robotics.
His research to create the tabla-playing began there, and in 2004, Persad was adjudged first in the Prime Minister's innovators award programme. The manufacture of robots with "artificial intelligence" is, in fact, a fast-developing field worldwide, according to Persad, who disclosed that around two million robots were sold internationally in 2006, some for such mundane purposes as polishing the floor. The trend now, he said was for inventors to venture into entertainment robots. Persad and his assistants at the UTT mechatronics laboratory-Jorrel Bisnath and Ruel Ellis-are still perfecting the tabla-playing robot, but are now venturing into fresh territory of coming up with a robot that can play the tenor pan. This project is still in the experimental stage, however, and presents fresh challenges to the team, such as the angles at which the pan sticks must be held to execute the notes. Persad disclosed that the mechatronics laboratory was planning a formal launch of the tabla-playing robot when a few more of the kinks have been ironed out.
He plans to have proper plastic fingers with knuckles, as well as a head with blinking eyes, manufactured on the laboratory's rapid prototyping machine, in time for the launch. The bespectacled professor is hoping to attract corporate sponsors to assist in further projects. Persad has already presented a paper in Canada on the tabla-playing robot, and the invention was registered at the Academy of Sangeet Research in Calcutta, India. He says he is proud to be part of the Indian diaspora to make a cultural contribution, and is planning to make a gift of a tabla-playing robot to the President of India on the occasion of Indian Arrival Day, May 30, this year. Persad's bright idea is for the tabla-playing robot to be duplicated and become a fixture at each of T&T's Embassies and High Commissions abroad. Persad's vision is to have the tabla-playing and tenor pan-playing robots execute a duet, and his first tune of choice would be the national anthem.