Some students from Stanford have managed to come up with the ultimate Star Wars fanboy’s fantasy: a robot arm capable of sparring with a human partner, wielding a light saber. In this case not real light sabers – since those don’t exist yet but replicas made out of foam. The project was part of the university’s Experimental Robotics course that was held over the course of three weeks.
The robot arm has two modes: attacking and defending. When it is attacking, it makes use of a set of preloaded patterns to swing the light saber at its target. The best part is when it is defending. Making use of two Microsoft Kinect motion controllers, the robot is programmed to detect the human’s light saber coming at it, and it uses its own light saber to defend. Pretty interesting stuff, hopefully we’ll be able to see the technology being used for whole robots next time, and not just the arm.