Calligraphy Robot Preserves An Ancient Skill

Calligraphy has been practiced for centuries in Japan, but fewer people practice it each generation. Is there some way to pass this delicate art on to future generations?


(Calligraphy robot video)

[B]rush-painting kanji calligraphy is a centuries-old art form. Keio University engineering professor Seiichiro Katsura has a way to help preserve it with his Motion Copy System robot.

The machine has a master-slave system that can reproduce brush strokes by a user with surprising similitude and subtlety. It uses a motion-capture system and old-school brush and ink to write beautifully.

The user first guides a handle around, while a separate brush dabs the paper with ink strokes. The bot remembers every nuance of the kanji, including the force applied to each stroke.

"We have been able to teach this robot to successfully copy the brush strokes of a master of calligraphy," Katsura told AFP when it was shown off at the recent Ceatec 2012 tech show in Tokyo.

But it could be used to preserve other manual techniques, such as hand movements used for surgery or mechanical work, according to Katsura.

I don't think it qualifies as a prediction, but the calligraphy robot might never have been made without the "prior art" of waldoes from Robert Heinlein's 1942 novel Waldo. In the novel, Waldo has a severe muscle disease that leaves him as weak as a toddler. He invents feedback-controlled devices that amplify his own meager muscularity called "waldoes". After putting on his special glove, he presses his forefinger against his thumb; then, the connected waldo glove puts its forefinger against its thumb - and presses 10 or 100 times harder.

In this excerpt, Waldo is teaching a machinist how to use waldoes to lathe metal castings:

‘Alexander Jenkins.’ ‘Very well, friend Alec - the gloves.’

Jenkins thrust his arms into the waldoes and waited. Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him; all three pairs, including the secondary pair mounted before the machine, came to life. Jenkins bit his lip, as if he found unpleasant the sensation of having his fingers manipulated by the gauntlets he wore.

Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.

‘Feel it, my dear Alec,’ Waldo advised. ‘Gently, gently- the sensitive touch. Make your muscles work for you.’ He then started hand movements of definite pattern; the waldoes at the power tool reached up, switched on the power, and began gently, gracefully, to continue the machining of the casting. A mechanical hand reached down, adjusting a vernier, while the other increased the flow of oil cooling the cutting edge. ‘Rhythm, Alec, rhythm. No jerkiness, no unnecessary movement. Try to get in time with me.’

The casting took shape with deceptive rapidity, disclosed what it was - the bonnet piece for an ordinary three-way nurse. The chucks drew back from it; it dropped to the belt beneath, and another rough casting took its place. Waldo continued with unhurried skill, his finger motions within his waldoes exerting pressure which would need to be measured in fractions of ounces, but the two sets of waldoes, paralleled to him thousands of miles below, followed his motions accurately and with force appropriate to heavy work at hand.

Another casting landed on the belt - several more. Jenkins, although not called upon to do any work in his proper person, tired under the strain of attempting to anticipate and match Waldo’s motions. Sweat dripped down his forehead, ran off his nose, accumulated on his chin. Between castings he suddenly withdrew his arms from the paralleled primaries.
(Read more about Heinlein's waldo)

I'd also like to point out that I've turned comments back on and the contact form is also open.

Via CNet.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/13/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but shows real promise.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.' - Philip K. Dick

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Soon, Your Tesla Will Follow You Like A Pet
'... follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'

Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.'

FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'

Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.'

Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."

Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.'

Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.'

ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'

MIT Headset Lets You Communicate Without Speaking
'The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them...'

Exploring Oceans Across The Solar System
'Black liquid flashed past the turbot’s infrared eyes.'

SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'

Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.'

Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.

Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...'

Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.