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A Robot Challenged a Sword Master to a Battle of Blades

The Yaskawa Bushido Project gives new meaning to the term "samurai code."

by Beckett Mufson
Feb 20 2017, 5:10am

GIF and screencaps via

This article was originally published on September 6, 2015 but we think it still rocks!

The art of teaching new robots old tricks flourishes in Japan with the Yaskawa Bushido Project, which pits Iaijutsu swordsmanship master and quintuple Guinness World Record holder Isao Machii against a mechanical arm in a contest of technique and endurance. After using motion capture to teach the machine Machii's cutting techniques, the Yaskawa Electric Company captured a series of swordsmanship tests with man and robot side-by-side in the video below to see if a computer program could trump years of training and certified excellence.

Whether or not a series of controlled tests can really hold a candle to Machii's instincts, improvisation, and creativity is up for debate. What's isn't open to discussion, however, is the awesomeness of watching a robot cut a pea pod in half with a samurai sword.

Images courtesy the artists

To see the entire video of an industrial robot vs sword master here

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