First Thought-Controlled Combat Robot

A thought-controlled bipedal combat robot will be entered into the 16th Robo-One gladiatorial tournament. The robot will be controlled by its creator, University of Electro-Communications student Taku Ichikawa.


(Bipedal thought-controlled robot with creator Taku Ichikawa)

Ichikawa controls the robot with his own thoughts, gathered by a set of electrodes applied to his head that measure his neural activity. The robot is able to walk forward, rotate right and use its single arm for stabbing attacks.

"As this is the first neural signal-controlled combat robot, I hope a lot of people will get to know about it," said an excited Ichikawa.

Ichikawa has trained extensively, repeatedly giving the necessary mental commands to his robot. There is a significant amount of latency; it takes about 1.5 seconds for his thoughts to be translated into robot movement. To make up for this in the heat of battle, the thought-controled gladiatorial robot also has some autonomous behaviors that take their cue from onboard sensors. For example, it can automatically recover from a fall.

Robo-One is being held at the Toyama Techno Hall in Toyama, Toyama Prefecture, with introductory displays to be held Saturday and the championship tournament on Sunday.

The introduction of the first thought-controlled robot fighter comes at just the same time as the premiere of the 2009 movie Surrogates. In the film, rooms full of operators control their military "surries" - thought-controlled military fighting robots.


(Surrogate military robots)

From Mainchi Daily News.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/25/2009)

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