I’m sure this may be old news for a lot of our readers, but who can pass up making a few comments about a robot that does Kendo? I for one can’t wait to put one of these on my Christmas list.
MUSA, a 163cm tall, 70kg robot, was developed by the Manufacturing and Mechatronics Lab of Seoul National University. It was designed to help Kendokas become more proficient with their techniques.
According to Prof.Young-Bong Bang, who led this project, Musa uses sensors to defend and attack his opponents using traditional Kendo techniques. It is the goal of MUSA’s developers to one-day program MUSA to a third Dan level.
As I watched the below video I have to say this project is pretty interesting, though Musa seems to lack a little spontaneity. However, I can clearly see how such a robot could help one with their forms, and who knows what such a robot will be able to do in the future.
After watching MUSA wield what appears to be a katana, I couldn’t help think about Yul Brynner’s deranged robot gunslinger in the movie “Westworld.” I certainly wouldn’t want the liability of a sword-wielding robot in my dojo, even if the developers guarantee MUSA is programmed not to actually strike/injure his opponents.
Okay, a Kendo fighting robot may not be my first choice since I don’t practice Kendo, but until there is a robot that does Kenjutsu or Aiki and has great ukemei (falling) abilities, this robot will have to suffice. Of course ,I’m still hoping that some type of holodeck, as seen in Star Trek, is developed in my lifetime, but that might be just too much wishful thinking.
Until technology catches up with my desire, I guess I’ll just have to do things the old fashion way and use white belts. After all, many of them do move robotically.