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September 20, 2017

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Robots to perform 'Phantom of the Opera'

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Taiwan university announced yesterday the creation of what could be the world's first robot theater, which will make its debut on Dec. 27 by performing the musical "The Phantom of the Opera."

The theater is comprised of four intelligent robots developed by the Center for Intelligent Robots at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.

They include a male robot named Thomas and a female robot named Janet, who can walk and are equipped with silicon facial muscles that enable them to mimic the facial expressions and lip motions of a human being. The other two members of the theater are Pica the painter and Ringo the jazz drummer, who move on two wheels.

Chen Shi-shuenn, president of the university, said the Dec. 27 performance will feature Thomas and Janet as the two leading characters in "The Phantom of the Opera".

There will also be singing and a Chinese comic dialogue show, Chen said. Lin Chyi-yeu, a professor of mechanical engineering who heads the Center for Intelligent Robots, said the center has started with the development of entertainment robots and will further apply the eye-hand coordination technology on the development of other service robots.

Also, the incomes generated from the theater performance will be used on related research and development, Lin said.

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