Japanese engineers have designed a robot that was able to learn how to use a sword with precision by copying the moves of its “teacher,” a samurai sword master. After learning how to wield a sword, Motoman MH-24, a Yaskawa Bushido industrial robot arm, then went on to beat its “teacher” in a test of skills.
The robot learned how to wield the sword by capturing digitally the moves and skills of a Japanese sword master Isao Machii and copying them. Machii, according to ZME Science, is an Iaijyutsu sword master who holds five Guinness World Records. He is on record as having performed the “fastest 1,000 iaido sword cuts” in 36 minutes and four seconds. He is also credited with the “most iado sword cuts to one mat.”
He performs extraordinary feats of swordsmanship, such as slicing a shrimp fired at him at about 130 km per hour, and slicing in half a BB pellet fired at him at 200 mph.
Despite his incredible skills, Machii was outdone by his robot student, which was able to execute cutting and slicing moves with greater precision, although, according to Neatorama, Machii appeared to be faster.
The robot learned how to execute a variety of cross-sectional cuts — diagonal and horizontal cuts — with speed and precision. The robot demonstrated its mastery of precision cuts by slicing lengthwise a bean pod measuring only one centimeter in thickness.
According to ZME Science, Machii was able to teach the robot how to wield a sword by strapping to his body a 3-D motion detection suit that recorded every detail of his movements. The movements were then inputted into the memory of the machine, which used the information to reproduce the original movements.
The video, produced by the Japanese company Yaskawa, showcases the skills of the robot. The slow-motion sequences reveal in detail the precision of the robot’s swordsmanship.
Judging from the latest achievement, we may have robotic samurai sword masters fighting and beating human masters in the future. Robots will tend to have an advantage over humans because programming will allow them to execute moves with greater precision than humans can, and unlike humans, they will be able to fight without fatigue.
With the added advantage of artificial intelligence programs, such machines could fulfill the worst fears of some who have warned of the scary scenario in which technology develops super-efficient killing machines that could pose a threat to human civilization.
Engineers have recently developed robotic arms displaying an array of skills, including one that was able to beat a world table tennis champion last March. In April, U.K. engineers developed a robo-chef that was able to prepare meals.
The Russians have also demonstrated robots that are able to compete with human soldiers in the area of marksmanship.
[Images: YouTube/Yaskawa Bushido]