If there’s anything that movies like “Terminator” and “I, Robot” have taught us, it’s that all robots are evil and will eventually take over the world when the opportunity strikes.
That’s why hearing the news that a PhD student at Georgia Tech taught a robot how to fight with a sword made me a bit wary. But, seeing the images and watching the video on how they’re going to make it work replaced my weariness with respect.
You’re probably wondering why anyone would want to teach a robot how to expertly wield a sword (other than for the obvious reason of creating an army of overzealous ninja robots). The real reasons are actually pretty genius.
First, the robot is only learning to defend itself from a human sword fighter, not to attack. This is so robots can learn how to predict and react to human movements, so if there are service robots interacting with humans, that interaction will be much safer.
As of right now, the only sword fighting the robot is doing is simulated on a computer, but as you can see from the picture above, the robot is more than capable of picking up an actual sword.
The amazing thing is that this robot is not the only one that’s been picking up swords in videos. Hubo, a cool humanoid robot, picked up a sword not too long ago to demonstrate its ability to hold items firmly.
More recently, at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation earlier this month, there were two robots dueling to the death with lightsabers. But, from the video below, you can see that these slow methodical robots are still a long way from beating any Jedi knights in a duel.