During a three-and-a-half week Experimental Robotics course at Stanford University, students had the chance to show off their creations to their classmates and friends in the school’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
“The whole project – from design to performance – is three-and-a-half weeks, so this is remarkable,” said Oussama Khatib, one of the computer science professors in the University. “These projects illustrate how creative our students can be when they’re challenged with a problem.”
The course is the students’ chance to apply programming skills and mathematical formulas to direct robotic arms to perform tasks commonly done by people in the real world.
“The most exciting part is when the students start thinking, ‘OK, what can we do with that?’ Then they start to form groups and brainstorm about what project would be dynamic, exciting and feasible,” the professor said.
One group of students created what they called a ‘JediBot,’ which is a pre-fabricated robotic arm that mimics a sword fighting human with unpredictable attack patterns.
“The robot needs to locate the human hand and know what strategy to take in order to make the next move… in real time,” Khatib said.
Students used Microsoft Kinect’s sensors to track the move of the human swordfighter. The Kinect’s color sensor can detect objects in 3D space.
Ken Oslund, a graduate student and a member of the group who helped design ‘JediBot,’ said: “We use the color image to isolate the sword from the background, because the opponent’s sword is green and nothing else in the background is green.”
Would it be cool to have your own JediBot at home?