Science

Chinese Humanoid Robot does Tai Chi

Posted 30 Dec 2002 at 22:45 UTC by steve Share This

According to a story from the Chinese Xinhuanet news service, researchers at the Beijing University of Science and Engineering have developed a humanoid robot capable of performing the martial art of Tai Chi (or Taiji). Tai Chi consists of moving slowly and precisely through a sequence of 108 postures commonly used in martial arts. The robot, BHR-1, is 1.58 meters high and weighs 76 Kgs.


Tai Chi, posted 30 Dec 2002 at 22:48 UTC by steve » (Master)

Just for comparison, it took me about 3 months to learn the first 19 or so positions. Mastering the full 108 can take a lifetime for a human. I wonder if the next generation robots will be doing Kung fu?

Growing the Chi a Pet , posted 31 Dec 2002 at 17:30 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

I do think it's cool to have a robot do whole the tai chi dance and I don't want to take away from that achievement because it is quite an achievement. However, learning positions and programming positions are like comparing apples to oranges. It's like it would take me a year to memorize a page in a phone book whereas a computer database can have the entire phone book as fast as it can be downloaded. I guess it could train Tai Chi positions, however it could probably not teach the so-called philosophical or spiritual aspect of it? Not that I'm any sort of expert on Tai Chi, but isn't part of Tai Chi that whole learning process, right? If that's so, then does the robot "really" do Tai Chi? Probably not. It's really cool that the robot can do the positions, but it seems to me like they skipped a crucial step - the learning process. At some point robots will need to "transcend" from the mostly mechanical to the...

Clever puppetry, posted 1 Jan 2003 at 15:27 UTC by motters » (Master)

Having a robot do Tai Chi is impressive, but this is actually not much more sophisticaed than the Honda or Sony humanoids. The movements will have been pre-programmed into the robot by a human expert, with the machine acting as little more than a balancing puppet.

What is still obviously lacking is the intelligence part of the equation. Could you build a robot which had no prior knowledge of Tai Chi but then was able to learn it by observing a human demonstrator ? That would be far more impressive and difficult, requiring the robot to be able to visually sense and understand the world around it.

- Bob

But it makes a great lerning tool, posted 3 Jan 2003 at 18:20 UTC by earlwb » (Master)

It does make for a great learning tool. You can watch the robot perform the movements. Since the robot doesn't get bored, daydream or get tired (not counting batteries), it can repeat the movements accrurately for the students.

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