Robot teaches Japanese children the lost art of calligraphy

Robot teaches Japanese children the lost art of calligraphy

Do you want your kids to become master calligraphers or even just learn the basics? There’s now a robot for that! Seiichiro Katsura, a professor at Keio University has invented a robot that is composed of multiple engines, a mechanical arm attached to a calligraphy brush and its hard drive filled with the skills of a master calligrapher, 90-year-old Juho Sado.

Sado “taught” the robot to write a series of kanji characters, from the wrist movements, brush strokes and angles, stroke order and the thickness of the line and even the slightest pressure change. It recorded all of these through its sensors and then teaches novices how to do it correctly, correcting their hand movements through its mechanical arm. Katsura hopes that his invention will help teach this generation and even future ones about this ancient skill that is already dying out. Most of the master calligraphers have passed away or are aged, and they have not passed on their knowledge onto the younger ones. He wanted to preserve their art and skills with the robot’s memory.

Earlier this week, students from Yokohama met the robot who taught them to draw kanji characters like “study”, “sea” and “flower” in classic cursive. Ayaka Matsui, an assistant of the professor taught the students how to use the robot and says that when the little ones pick up the brush, “it’s as if the master himself is holding your hand and guiding you.” Katsura is hoping that his invention can also be used in other fields that need the use of hands to teach the students, like surgery and mechanics. He believes the robot can turn the tedious process into a more efficient one.

[ via AFP ]
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