July 19, 2011 at 10:39 AM ET
A group of Stanford students have come up with a really great idea: they're using the Kinect motion-sensing video game controller to teach robots to fight with swords.
The Stanford grad students thought it would be "cool" to teach a robot to fight like in the Star Wars movies. You know, like with lightsabers. So they created the JediBot (which I will henceforth refer to as the SithBot for improved accuracy.)
"We were recently at a conference in Shanghai and a company was showing two robots fencing," says Oussama Khatib, the computer science prof behind the madness. "This is easy because every robot knows exactly what the other robot is doing. The challenge here is how can you get a robot to understand what the human is doing?"
The answer to that challenge: Kinect. The SithBot uses Microsoft's full-body motion sensor to track its opponent's sword and adjust accordingly. Check it out in action:
Thankfully, the SithBot is ... slow. But it is strong with the Dark Side of the force and, as anyone can tell, it will soon step up the pace and lead an army of sword-swinging androids chanting "Kill! Kill! Kill!"
Mark my words. Mark. My. Words!
(Thanks to Kotaku for the heads up.)
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Winda Benedetti writes about games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things right here on Twitter or join her in the stream right here on Google+. You can check out the In-Game Facebook page right here.