A little over a week ago we had the opportunity to sit in as a member of the Robot Japan team preparing for the August robot performance competition. One of the centerpiece exhibits will be the NAO robot drawing traditional Japanese kanji calligraphy - known as "Shado". This was the first attempt, so there were a few false steps and mistakes, but those are to be expected.
Over the course of the afternoon, and with everyone's help and support, NAO was able to draw the correct kanji with quite a bit of style and enthusiasum. The high points of the afternoon are in the video below.
Robot writing takes lots of trial, error, and practice-
Some of the things the team discovered during the attempt included:
- The robot's torso needs to be held in place somehow. If it tilts in any direction during the learning process it is difficult to reproduce the same brush tip position while writing.
- The teachers hand guiding NAO to learn the character tends to support the robots arm. When the robot writes on its own the same support isn't available, so the resulting brush tip position is lower.
- Long brush strokes work better when executed fairly quickly and as point-to-point as possible. Moving the brush slowly during a long brush stroke tends to result in a more erratic and less beautiful robot writing stroke.
- After hours of constant operation, the robots motors tend to heat up. This caused some variation in the brush positioning.
Here are the best moments of the afternoon session:
The next Robot Japan event is scheduled for August 21st. We're really looking forward to enjoying it.