iPad magician breaks new ground with robot assistant

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iPad magician Simon Pierro and his new assistant Pepper
iPad magician Simon Pierro bought a Pepper robot and is training it to be his assistant.
Photo courtesy of: Simon Pierro

We’ve seen magician Simon Pierro do things with an iPad that would amaze the smartest of Apple’s engineers.

Now he has a robot called Pepper in on the act.

Like all magicians, Pierro will not explain his tricks. He regularly reaches into an iPad screen and pulls out three-dimensional objects, including fruit, snakes and typical magic props like doves, cards and a line of never-ending scarves. He even brought an iPad to an Oktoberfest celebration in his native Germany and tapped it to fill an empty stein with beer.

iPad magician introduces his lovely assistant

Pierro is now passing some of his tricks on to Pepper for a new act he is calling Artistic Intelligence.

“Is it RobotOS, artificial intelligence or simply magic that is happening here?” Pierro said in an email to Cult of Mac. “Decide for yourself.”

Pierro purchased Pepper and obtained permission from Japanese manufacturer SoftBank Robotics to use the robot in magic shows.

Softbank Robotics introduced the social humanoid robot, which can recognize faces and basic human emotions ,in 2014. Peppers currently serve as receptionists in some U.K. offices and in Japanese banks, restaurants and health care facilities.

The robots cost about $1,700, but Peppers are sold on a 36-month service contract that includes a data plan and insurance. That costs $360 per month.

As of May 2018, Forbes magazine reported that Softbank Robotics sold more than 12,000 Pepper robots.

Peppers come with a touchscreen mounted to the chest, so Pierro’s act requires him to work with an operating system beyond iOS. Still, the robot can be controlled with an iPad using the Super Pepper app from the App Store.

But Apple gadgets remain very present in Pierro’s act, as you can see in one of the videos below. The magician uses a magnet to pull an iPhone out of Pepper’s screen.

Seeing is believing. For more examples of Pierro’s iPad magic, see the stories below the videos.