WABOT-2 --

WABOT-2, an intelligent humanoid keyboard player developed by Waseda University in the 1980s, was considered the most advanced robot of its time. In addition to camera eyes that could read musical notation and deft hands that could tap out tunes of average difficulty, WABOT-2 could listen to accompanying singers and adjust its tempo, as well as carry on basic conversation. The android demonstrated its musical skills at Expo '85 in Tsukuba, Japan with a performance of Kitaro's new age classic "Silk Road." (Watch a clip.)

Built in order to develop the basic technology, strength and skills for robots of the 21st century, WABOT-2 was equipped with a hierarchical system of 80 microprocessors modeled after the human nervous system, and its arms and legs had 50 degrees of freedom -- more than any other robot in existence at the time. Waseda University regards WABOT-2 as a landmark achievement in the evolution of personal robots.

[Video: The Computer Chronicles (1985 broadcast) - Parts 1, 2, 3]