Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Japanese Researchers Create Skiing Robot 52

An anonymous reader writes "In a bid to better understand the art of an effective ski turn researchers have recently built a robot to simulate the exact movements of a skier. The team of researchers from Kanazawa University in Japan built the ski robot to investigate the existing movements of skier's turns and see if there is any room for improvement on current techniques."


This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Japanese Researchers Create Skiing Robot

Comments Filter:
  • Japan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @03:06AM (#28778947)
    I always laugh at their silly robo projects. It's easy to do but I know that eventually all their silly research projects are going to culminate in something truly astounding. After all the first attempts at flight were silly.
    • It's not silly if your capital city is getting attacked by different monstrosities every week.
    • Re:Japan (Score:4, Insightful)

      by religious freak ( 1005821 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @03:19AM (#28778991)
      I agree with you, but the thing I find interesting in looking at the Japanese economy, and technical prowess leads me to believe this is more than just silly fun - or even more than academics.

      Japanese society is aging rapidly, and their robotic prowess has been projected to be able to provide for the poor and disabled while their society ages. I've heard at least one person hypothesize that this will lead to the first robot/human society on earth, and given their prowess with robotics, I wouldn't be surprised. This should be interesting...
      • by Jurily ( 900488 )

        It's not the robotics part that's interesting here. It's that we're starting to realize, that in order to get a clear picture of what's really happening inside a human body, we need to build one from scratch.

        IMO they're doing it wrong. They should aim at creating a robot that can be taught to ski.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Michael Crichton had this bit in (I think) Terminal Man where a company was being paid to develop an automated ping pong playing robot. It was called HAPP (Hopelessly Articulated Ping Pong player). The speculation was that the researchers were being paid to develop a short range ballistic defence system without actually knowing the real objective.

      Building a humanoid skiing robot may deliver insights into how humans keep their balance. Maybe there is a new angle on hydroplane surface vessels with active su
  • built a robot to simulate the exact movements of a skier

    Many activeskiers with their entire torso amputated out there?

    • What's that you're hacking off? Is it my torso? It is! My precious torso!

    • by hughk ( 248126 )
      Not just that, how on earth will they be able to do the important skiing manoeuvres like the apres ski - you need a drinking arm for that!
  • by seeker_1us ( 1203072 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @03:23AM (#28779007)
    Hmmm how can we improve a Japaneese robot? It can transform into a jet fighter. It should have lots of weapons, with an activation system keyed to voice recognition so that the pilot has to needlessly scream out their name every single time they are triggered. It needs a theme song sung by a japanese dude with a rich baritone voice and then for some reason lots of little children backing him up.
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @03:27AM (#28779033) Homepage
    A skiing robot eh? And there's massively renewed interest in missions to the moon all of a sudden too. Hmmm...

    If it's coin-operated, looks like and oven and is rusty, then run like hell.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by PrayingWolf ( 818869 )
      In other news: Cheese syndicates scrambling to build armies of skiing robots for conquering the moon, which, as everybody knows, is made of cheese!
  • by SimonInOz ( 579741 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @03:28AM (#28779041)

    From the FA ... a version of the robot with the correct human ratio was very prone to falling over

    I have just the same problem.

  • Suki...!
  • by torrija ( 993870 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @04:24AM (#28779243)
    I just found a video of a skiin robot on youtube dated 2008 from the Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia: []
  • by grrrl ( 110084 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @04:45AM (#28779323)

    It's interesting that they need to "decipher" the art of skiing - ask a good ski instructor and they can easily tell you about a lot of optimal body positioning, angles, joint movements etc, to be a great skier. That said, perhaps this is for improving already great skiers... but if they are trying to investigate even more precise angles etc, will a robot really deliver the correct data if it's not anatomically correct? If the center of mass of the robot body is different to a human, surely the angles of the joints and the base of support of the robot for optimal performance will be different to a real person??

    It's also strange that they state "the researchers also programmed a motion plan based on the skiing style of world cup racer Gaku Hirasawa, who turns his waist to face inside the turn arc" when I was taught (while learning to instruct, under the Canadian method) that your feet must initiate the turn, and the body then follows (there should be upper/lower body separation).

    Anyway, interesting... crazy Japanese, they really don't get enough props for loving robots so much!

    • (there should be upper/lower body separation)

      Exactly. The upper body should stay mostly still and the feet should move back and forth under the body.

      Looking at the image, it doesn't look like there is any lateral flexibility in the hips and knees. Not much chance of good technique there...

      • by grrrl ( 110084 )

        actually the upper body should come around to follow the feet, but not initiate the turn... and it depends on how you are skiing (carving turns or short radius etc). Also it depends on who teaches you - the Canadian CSIA method had a few instructors who would keep their upper body down the hill a lot, whereas my French ski instructor had a very different style - follow your skis! would be the cry...

      • If you have lateral flexibility in your knees, you have a problem.

  • This reminds me of that Eddie Izzard clip []: "Well... er.. i got some elephants" "Can they ski?!?!?" "Oh they're tops at Skiing! If you've never seen an elephant ski then you've never been on acid!"
  • If this gets more development time I could imagine a nice application which could give a money-saving nerd the thrill of the Alps. And without the hassle of flying there and getting expensive skiing equipment. Just enjoy crazy slopes through the sensors of the robot(s). Though, will this mean that Telemarker6000 will finally dominate the Winter X Games?
  • .. eh nevermind.
  • Much easier than driving to the snow, renting the skiis, getting cold and blistered. I can just hire a robot to do it for me!

    But seriously. I wonder how this robot would go with a dead weight torso and head attached to it.
  • by wjousts ( 1529427 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @08:13AM (#28780097)
    They had originally built a snowboarding robot, but it was too busy smoking pot for them to do any actual research.
  • The ski slopes are already crowded enough without adding robots. Sheesh... Soon they'll be taking over the Winter Olympics...
  • There is no one technique to ski. People learn different ways. For example Bode Miller has a sort of homegrown technique that is very different than other racers. The reason why there is no one technique is because it differs based on weight distribution, equipment (skis, bindings, boots, etc..), and snow conditions. You ski very different on ice then you do on powder.
  • Just wait until we have the "human vs. droid" Olympics. Chess is just too passive. Soon, it won't be US vs Russia or China. It will be humans vs. robots. To be fair, there will be rules. For example, weight classes and size classes. This will encourage the robotics companies to build them better, stronger, faster and still fit within a lane of a track. Eventually, they will be the size of a human and increase in speed and strength.

    This might be a good time to start implementing a "4 year life span []", for
  • Fast cars, hot nightclubs, beautiful women... the professor designed them all.

  • Said the joker to the thief.
  • pizza.... french fries.... pizza.... french fries....

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain