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AI Robotics Star Wars Prequels Toys Idle

Stanford Students Build "JediBot" 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the may-the-grades-be-with-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "By combining a dexterous robotic arm, a foam-padded lightsaber, the movement tracking capabilities of Microsoft's Kinect sensor, and some clever software, students at Stanford University have created what can only be called a JediBot. Using a series of pre-programmed 'attack moves', and Kinect to detect the location of the enemy's light saber, JediBot can attack and defend with surprising grace. For now its attack moves are fairly slow — it can only attack once every 2 or 3 seconds — but presumably you could tweak a knob (and remove the foam padding) to turn JediBot into a real killing machine." I look forward to model that can also "force choke" an opponent.

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Stanford Students Build "JediBot"

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  • Just add a massive capacitor or tesla coil, maybe?
    • by rbrausse (1319883)

      combine this sweety [wikipedia.org] with a Kinect interface and I want one...

      TFS is kind of stupid, so a group of students used a Kinect to control an industry robot. Cool idea, even without the Star-Wars-rhubarb.

    • This reminds me more of the robotic training devices used in one of the Dune books ("Children of Dune", maybe). Alia trains with one on the highest setting, which was supposed to have been pretty impressive, if I remember right (read it 30 years ago, or so).

      • by vlm (69642)

        This reminds me more of the robotic training devices used in one of the Dune books ("Children of Dune", maybe). Alia trains with one on the highest setting, which was supposed to have been pretty impressive, if I remember right (read it 30 years ago, or so).

        And much later on, the Idaho gholas maxed it out on a regular basis too, etc etc

      • by halivar (535827)

        Those training devices appear in almost all the books; but the scene you're thinking of is from Dune Messiah.

      • ABOMINATION
    • Re:Force Lightning (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday July 18, 2011 @12:00PM (#36800756) Journal
      Force lightning can be directed. You'd need something that would ionise a path through the air to act as a conduit. This has been done before with lasers. It was originally intended as a stun weapon - like a taser but without the need for wires - but the laser burns tended to do more damage than the electrical arc.
  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Monday July 18, 2011 @10:51AM (#36800006)

    till the bot spazzes out and whops some one ... then its just fun

    • Being whopped is the fun, at least trying to avoid being whopped would be. How can you have fun with something that has no chance of hitting you?
  • May the FORCE be with you!! :D
  • But with the blast shield down, I can't even see! How am I supposed to fight?
  • by Greg Merchan (64308) on Monday July 18, 2011 @10:51AM (#36800014)

    This seems to me to be a grievous mistake.

  • I welcome our new jedi-bot overlords!
    • I welcome our new jedi-bot overlords!

      *waves Jedi hand*
      These aren't the droids you're looking for.

  • Indiana Jones shoots it with a gun that the stupid Jedi can only block if it doesn't slow down the 'story' progression.
    • I can see for the story plot having the Force can make you good enough to stop a bullet or a light pulse. However If I was a general in the empire I would just use explosives, like a grenades. So they can block it but it still explodes in their face. The light saber is a very inefficiency weapon for the modern barbaric times.

      • by uncanny (954868)
        This was a "long time ago" they didn't have technology like grenades back then, duh!
      • by rubycodez (864176)
        (Jedi peers around corner at dying and maimed imperial minions littering the floor in pools of blood and entrails, then stares at grenade pin still on his index finger ). "how....uncivilized". (throws pin away in disgust)
        • This reminds me of the scene in X-Men 2 where Magneto pulls all the pins out of the soldiers' grenades while they are are still attached to their vests. I imagine a Jedi would do something similar. Or just use the Force to stop the blast entirely. I would think a Jedi could just stop a grenade from exploding.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Or just throw it back.

          • by Slider451 (514881)

            Except that anyone who knows about grenades knows the paddle (spoon) is what starts the fuse. The pin just unlocks the paddle, allowing it to release (it's spring-loaded). As long as you hold the paddle against the grenade the fuse will not start and you can put the pin back in. A properly stored grenade will prevent the paddle from releasing automatically when the pin is pulled. That is grenade 101. Doesn't make for an interesting movie scene, though.

      • However If I was a general in the empire I would just use explosives, like a grenades.

        Considering how often the troops shoot half a mile in the wrong direction you should also have them have some shooting lessons. I mean, a grenade is powerful, but the troops would be most likely to drop them behind their backs when trying to throw.

        • by gknoy (899301)

          I think the troops were only inaccurate in Scriptwriter Approved situations -- when it would ensure they don't hit the good guys. Obi-wan's comments indicated that he felt they were supposed to be accurate shots. Maybe they only staffed the Death Star with the marksmanship rejects?

      • You don't need a grenade, you just need three barrels spaced more than the width of a lightsabre blade apart. A jedi with a single blade can block, at most, two of the shots. One is enough to kill.
  • I want a Robotic Not-So-Dummy! Give it another arm, and teach it kung fu!
  • meh (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    the video was much less cool than the summary made it sounds

  • I mean, as a race of bags of mostly water, we're just asking for it.

  • I'm incline to say it's some kind of assembly because of the ALL CAPS and line comments starting with a ;. OTOH, it looks a bit like Perl, but not quite. Anybody know? (freeze frame at 1:51 to see what I'm talking about)

  • Could this robot potentially violate the first and second laws of Robotics?

    1 A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    2 A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

    • If a robot is not sophisticated enough to obey orders that aren't hardcoded, is it in violation of the second law?
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      It's tough to encode high level laws in robots without brains.

      Those robots that weld cars together don't exactly worry too much about hurting any humans who are dumb enough to get their smelly contaminated hydrocarbon bits in the way.

      • Robots that weld cars together protect humans by being in cages or being surrounded by laser sensor grids that kill the motion if the beam is interrupted.
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday July 18, 2011 @12:07PM (#36800826) Journal

      Why not? Pretty much every robot produced can violate the first law, because no one has created a control system capable of defining what 'harm' means. Even toy robots can move just outside of a baby's reach and make them cry. Most factory robots could probably disassemble a human if one got in the way.

      Most of Asimov's robot stories dealt with the fact that 'harm' is difficult to quantify even for highly intelligent beings. For something with a simple control program, it's basically impossible.

    • by gknoy (899301)

      The robot did not appear to be making any attacks, but rather was attempting to match the incoming sword strike at a 90 degree angle. Of course, it would likely not be a far stretch to make it execute counters, too, but at least this robot did not appear to be doing so.

    • by Ruke (857276)
      Absolutely. Most robots can. Many robots are designed to. The amount of funding for "pure science" robotics pales in comparison to DOD research grants. Your project will never go unfunded, as long as you can figure out how to use it to kill people.
  • This is only a toy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Okian Warrior (537106) on Monday July 18, 2011 @11:08AM (#36800206) Homepage Journal

    As a long time swordfight student and instructor, I have to say that putting a stick in the grip of an industrial robot does not make it a sword fighter.

    For example, the obvious mistake seen in the video is that the robot strikes at the *weapon*, not the *person*. As any 1st year fencing student knows, you can't win the fight that way. I love fighting nubies who make that mistake.

    We have a term for this - it's called "Erroll Flynn" fighting, and it refers to those cheap movie swordfight scenes where the actors aren't skilled enough to actually fight without putting out their opponent's eye. Stay far enough away so that you can't hit the opponent, and cross swords in mid air. Clack... Clack... Clack... now low: Clack... Clack... Clack... now high...

    Let's have a robot that holds a broom and say it's a sweeping robot! Or a robot that holds a hose and say it's a car washing robot! Or a robot that holds a trimmer and say it's a hedge-trimming robot.

    Wake me when it can detect an opening in the opponent's defense and strike at it.

    • by gclef (96311) on Monday July 18, 2011 @11:10AM (#36800224)

      In its defence, this is exactly what the movie jedi did also, so calling it a "jedi bot" is an accurate description.

      • Maybe in the first movies, you know the original Trilogy.

        In Phantom Menace Ray Park (Darth Maul) actually wanted all of the moves in the fight scenes to have legitimate targets. As in: I am swinging for his head, he is trying to stop me from hitting his head, etc.

        Speaking as a fencer, I had a buddy that tied a string to the floor and ceiling of his garage, he put a tennis ball on the string at chest height and would practice stabbing it for a little while each day. His point control improved, and that was j

        • by Anonymous Coward

          There was one scene in the original trilogy where the fencing coreographer (I think it was Bob Anderson) actually got the actors to fight like a real fight. It's in ESB, it's the scene where Vader's holding the lightsaber one-handed, you'll know it when you see it.

          Apparently, Anderson had that scene filmed when Lucas was out for coffee or something. Lucas ends up not seeing the scene until editing and he's furious, but there's no time to re-shoot it so it stays in.

          • Bob Anderson wasn't a fencing choreographer. He was actually the British and Canadian national fencing coach.
        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          But in a "sword" fight in which you and your opponent both have some ability to see into the future surely swordplay might be a little different - you aren't trying to hit him you are simply getting him to do an action other than than the one that will lead to an inevitable chain of actions and him hitting you 2 minutes later?

        • In Phantom Menace Ray Park (Darth Maul) actually wanted all of the moves in the fight scenes to have legitimate targets. As in: I am swinging for his head, he is trying to stop me from hitting his head, etc.

          In that case, they should shoot the fight choreographer. Watch the film again. There are a huge number of times when someone with a few days of experience behind them would stab the person who just turned their back in a flashy move that exposed most of their body without a guard. It made me cringe watching them. Someone with jedi reflexes should have ended any one of the fight scenes in the first 10 seconds.

          In the first films the fights were a lot more realistic, largely because they weren't the ce

          • There are a huge number of times when someone with a few days of experience behind them would stab the person who just turned their back in a flashy move that exposed most of their body without a guard. It made me cringe watching them. Someone with jedi reflexes should have ended any one of the fight scenes in the first 10 seconds.

            Obi-Wan Kenobi, in every movie in which he fights does a spin exposing his back to an opponent who, paradoxically, will also spin at the exact same time instead of just taking the opportunity to hit him.

            At least they're consistent about it. It happens in ANH as well as the prequels.

    • by diewlasing (1126425) on Monday July 18, 2011 @11:24AM (#36800392)
      I'm not sure if you're joking or you really did miss the point of the experiment. Yes, obviously a more realistic robot would try to actually attack the sword. But this isn't the main point. The point is to see if you can actually engineer a robot to respond to different situation appropriately. And they did. I have a have a ladder that goes great with that high horse of yours.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Heh. Those "cheap movie sword fight scenes" were choreographed by Ralph "The Boss" Faulkner. Surprising that you don't know that being a long time swordfight student and instructor.

      http://www.sword-play.net/faulkner.htm

    • by kikito (971480)

      "For example, the obvious mistake seen in the video is that the robot strikes at the *weapon*, not the *person*. As any 1st year fencing student knows, you can't win the fight that way. I love fighting nubies who make that mistake."

      Certainly direction and target is the primary parameter to take into account ... for humans. I think that you are missing the very obvious but very important fact that we are talking about machines here. Their raison d'être is to excel precisely where we don't (at least for

    • by Terrasque (796014)

      Of course it's a toy. Meant for amusement. For entertainment.

      This [youtube.com] and this [youtube.com] are the non-toy versions.

      • So...Don't bring a knife to a gunfight?
        • by gman003 (1693318)

          Exactly. Nobody is looking for an actual sword-fighting robot, other than (perhaps) people looking for something to practice against. Not a huge market there, and some might not even want one that fights properly (I can imagine usage in some Disney park attraction where that would be undesirable).

          The military (historically the main user of sword-related technology) already has robots for combat that are literally centuries ahead of this sword-bot - they've got UAVs with guided missiles, tank-bots with .30-c

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Let's have a robot that holds a broom and say it's a sweeping robot! Or a robot that holds a hose and say it's a car washing robot! Or a robot that holds a trimmer and say it's a hedge-trimming robot.

      Or a swordfighter that reads (?) a tech article and say he's an idiot!

      Uh, sorry for that. But why the hell would a robot arm have to wait for an opening in it's opponents defense? It could cut you in half by sher force, and putting your sword in between would make no difference. And BTW, all those dancing is no match for a good blaster.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      1960: As a long time welder, I don't see machines ever being able to weld a car frame together

      1990: As a long time doctor I don't see machines ever doing remote surgeries.

      • There's a difference between those two and fencing: these days, no one actually needs to fight with a sword. People do it for fun, for show, and for exercise. A robot doesn't have to be able to beat a human to be 'better', it has to be a more (or equally) fun opponent. Think about chess computers. No one really cares about things like Deeper Blue, which can beat any human opponent. People care about things like GNU Chess, which can play at a skill level that's fun for someone who enjoys chess to play a
        • by PPH (736903)
          Speed this up and give it a repertoire of offensive moves and it could be a hell of a good training aide for fencing.
      • by ajlitt (19055)

        Long long ago:

        Long time Jedi I am. See machines wielding a lightsaber I do not. Hmph.

    • It appears you seem to be missing the possibilities of this bot, because they have not revealed the coding for finding an opening.


      There are pre-programmed "attacks" that attack a color, in this case it detects the green sword and attacks.
      Add enough "attacks" to its library, and code to detect the body(or vital hit points) instead of the sword.
      Then carefully add a calculation to determine the speed of the robot attack to make contact with the body/vitals and comparatively calculate the speed of the inco
    • by BlackHawk (15529)
      "Wake me when it can detect an opening in the opponent's defense and strike at it." Do you say this to your beginning students? The fact that this robot has the ability to track its opponent's sword, and using its programming, place its own sword in the "best" (in the minds of the programmers, who are clearly not swordsmen, as you and I are) position for anticipatory defense is a milestone. Give it time; it will be a relatively short step to add heuristic algorithms to this, and then the machine will simpl
    • by nedlohs (1335013) on Monday July 18, 2011 @12:00PM (#36800762)

      Wake me when it can detect an opening in the opponent's defense and strike at it.

      I suggest you don't bother reading slashdot. If a technology has to be at that level beefore you want to even hear about it then maybe you should get your tech news from the History Chanel?

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        You'll likely have more luck with the History Channel, unless perfumes are what you are interested in.

    • by Epeeist (2682)

      Wake me when it can detect an opening in the opponent's defense and strike at it.

      Or even better, when it can cope with an attack from Pozdniakov - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1478623914238877457 [google.com]

    • by Atzanteol (99067)

      Sometimes it's not whether the bear dances well but the fact that the bear is dancing at all.

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Wake me when a computer can do something way more complicated, like beat a chessmaster. Hey, is it time to get up already?
  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Monday July 18, 2011 @11:24AM (#36800384)
    Obviously fake there were women in the class.
  • Is that what we're calling it these days?

    Yeah, to be honest, I look forward to a robot that can "force choke" it's "opponent" too.

  • I thought this would be something like that floating ball thingy that you're supposed to hit. Something based on the recent japanese flying orb thingy.

  • They will really have something when they can program a robot to be your dance partner.
  • When will he appear?
  • by Tomahawk (1343) on Monday July 18, 2011 @12:06PM (#36800818) Homepage

    In 'attack mode', it's following a set of pre-determined attack moved. Not even randomly determined. Boring.

    But in 'defence mode', it's impressive, tracking the opponents sword and moving to block it. Very nice. Would be cool if it could move faster... but that's just a factor of time - next year's version will be twice as fast, and the year after twice as fast again...

  • I really wish they had shown a bit more of the defense bit, instead of shoving that at the end of the video.
    I found that far more interesting than a sequence of pre-programmed attacks.
  • it can only attack once every 2 or 3 seconds

    So it needs to get about 10-15x faster to hold up against a "real" jedi.

  • by DarthVain (724186) on Monday July 18, 2011 @02:02PM (#36801864)

    Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed.

  • I want to hear more about this robot that makes grilled hamburgers!

  • Skip ahead to about 1:52 in the video. What's the programming language? Tell me that's not BASIC...

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