Japanese Sumo Robots
June 21, 2017 9:47 PM   Subscribe

ロボット相撲 (slyt) "It's like watching typewriters fight."
posted by Roger Dodger (42 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
So this has been making the rounds, and I've watched it a few times. But I can't tell. Are these little bastards autonomous or are they remote controlled?
posted by notyou at 9:53 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]

Fucking cool.
posted by kittensofthenight at 9:53 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]

Right at the start, when the two (human) competitors bow to each other, you can see a remote controls by their feet.
posted by RobotHero at 10:00 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]

Another fun detail is the serious shin protection the ref is wearing.
posted by RobotHero at 10:01 PM on June 21 [5 favorites]

These have to be working off some kind of macro or something, no way could a human react that fast. So zippy!
posted by turbid dahlia at 10:06 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]

it's Battlebots a 8x speed. needs Craig Charles (of Robot Wars) after inhaling helium.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:09 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]

I'm so glad someone saved me the effort of posting this, because it's fantastic and needed posting.

So this has been making the rounds, and I've watched it a few times. But I can't tell. Are these little bastards autonomous or are they remote controlled?

I'm curious about the details too! I agree with turbid dahlia that there must be at least some automation of movement; there's some fantastically zippy and mechanically precise hijinks going on here that could plausibly be triggered or hinted by a human controller but not actually executed movement for movement.

Along those lines, I love the weird little flourishes or spasms (hard to say which!) that a couple of the bots do, chunking rapidly around the ring like a violent spirograph in pentagonal twist-and-sprint motions.
posted by cortex at 10:33 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]

posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:36 PM on June 21 [30 favorites]

It seems like they'd have to be autonomous, with the human remote controlling start/stop only. Some of those flag-deploying bots only make sense if they're intended to fool machine vision.
posted by hades at 10:47 PM on June 21 [6 favorites]

Ah, yup:
E. All robots must be autonomous. Any control mechanisms can be employed, as long as all components are contained within the robot and the mechanism does not interact with an external control system (human, machine, or otherwise).
--Rules from RobotChallenge.org, which looks to be a similar setup.
posted by hades at 10:57 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]

The flag-wielding bots, and the jerky, zippy way they all move, makes me think of jumping spiders and those peacock spiders.... And also, this is the funniest thing I've seen all day and I keep blorfing out loud and I don't know WHY it is so funny but it is.
posted by The otter lady at 11:01 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]

The match at 3:45 is a thing of beauty.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:04 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]

The match at 3:45 is a thing of beauty.

In human sumo that kind of dodge maneuver is called a henka. It's high-risk, high-reward, and most fans seem to hate it. Personally I love them and apparently love them even more when autonomous sumobots pull one off, intentionally or not.

Apologies for subjecting you to sumo Jason
posted by edeezy at 11:54 PM on June 21 [9 favorites]

posted by DoctorFedora at 12:33 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]

So this has been making the rounds, and I've watched it a few times. But I can't tell. Are these little bastards autonomous or are they remote controlled?

Based on the jerky motion, and the post victory laps, I'm going with human controlled. The conditions seem controlled enough that a person could practice specific rapid movements, like rotating left, moving, then reorienting to your opponent. Sort of like solving a rubix cube by rote algorithm. And the pause is likely just figuring out what the hell your opponent did during that maneuver and how to respond to that, and predict what'll happen next.

The edge -> edge victory laps are likely a very common training routine. Once you're on the edge and facing the right angle, a square or star pattern is pretty easy to pull off with practice.
posted by pwnguin at 1:00 AM on June 22

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

I would like a couple of these for...reasons. Hell yes.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:12 AM on June 22

1. I love them all and they are all now my hyper jerky robot Pokemon children
2. When will this autonomous scooping technology be available in alarm clock form so I might have a chance of ever waking up on time
posted by Mizu at 2:16 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]

What's troubling is that these robots will be used for elderly care.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:21 AM on June 22 [13 favorites]

Loved it when parts flew off the robots before a single impact, and when there was visible smoke. Kinda hoped for something to burst into flames.

Now I'm thinking I'd like to see typewriters actually fight. Picture a couple of nice heavy '20s era Royal desk models whacking at each other with their chromed carriage return levers, or maybe a couple of Selectrics engineered to fire font balls at each other, or a Smith-Corona late-model portable delivering the coup-de-grace by abruptly ejecting its ribbon cartridge, all to the sound of furiously ringing little silver bells.

*eyes mist over*
posted by kinnakeet at 3:25 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]

One of the things that impresses me is that the basic form factor has normalized around the common shape of a plow-edge front and low box behind it. Presumably the innards try to put the batteries at the bottom of the chassis to optimize handling. Visible distinguishing characteristics amount to color, shininess and build details (you can see some of the robots' front blade edges are too low and they end up wedged in the arena surface). And yeah my guess is the bots are autonomous, otherwise the extreme shininess of some of them wouldn't matter and the flags on arms would be a liability, not a strategy. Although even as a strategy it seems weak, since it should be relatively simple to instruct a robot to aim at the middle of the pack when it detects more than one opponent.
posted by ardgedee at 3:33 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]

Clark Nova FTW.
posted by sonascope at 3:50 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]

This was ridiculously entertaining and "carefully edited" to where it delivered surprising moments and genuine laughs. Robert McGregor deserves a zillion kudos for this. Thanks so much for posting!
posted by hippybear at 4:01 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]

Also, the VERY FINAL FIGHT makes it look like a uniquely Japanese version of civilized cockfighting.
posted by hippybear at 4:06 AM on June 22

This is so much better than battle bots.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:37 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]

I found the site for what appears to be the official robot sumo organization, and hit translate on it. It seems as though there are both autonomous and human-controlled bots. It has kludgy auto-translate grammar, but it gets the point across:

Robot wrestlers are divided into two categories, "autonomous" to fight with a computer program and "radio control type" to fight by manipulating the propo, and fight for their respective governing bases.
There is no battle of independent type and radio control type ※

Autonomous type
Preliminarily set computer program to robot . Various tactics are memorized and selected by the pilot on the spot.
The moment I said "It was a good day", the switch was pushed and it started 5 seconds later .
Also equipped with a white line sensor, it recognizes the "bales" of the ring. By doing so, you will be sticky.
Radio control type

The pilot moves the robot freely in the propo and fights .
Of course, not only the maneuvering technique but also judgment and inspiration are important keys.

So I think there are macros for specific behaviors, probably more machine learning and automation as that tech has improved, and then also some human controlled elements.
posted by codacorolla at 5:08 AM on June 22

This is the coolest thing. Would love to watch it in person
posted by james33 at 5:32 AM on June 22

Does the winning robot have to remain in the ring to register the win?
posted by Jode at 5:48 AM on June 22

Lived up to the descriptiom... which honestly I didn't think it could. It is exactly like watching typewriters fight... as long as the typewriters are robotic mimics
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:00 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]

It seems as though there are both autonomous and human-controlled bots.

There ought to be a third: you climb inside
A sumo robot wrestler ten feet high
And wrestle while you're trying not to die
Amid the wrecks of those who fought and died.
posted by pracowity at 6:01 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]

If we were living in a William Gibson novel, bets would be laid, and a seedy professional robot fighting league would be a thing. Then I remember who's in the White House, and realize we're all living in a Douglas Adams novel, so it's inevitable one of these things gets elected to national office. "I cede my time to my colleague, Representative MiniMurderBot (R-TX)"
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:02 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]

I went to the OCAD version of this event in Toronto several years ago and had a blast, cheered for my namesake when she won, and even got the t-shirt.
posted by maudlin at 6:06 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]

Based on the jerky motion, and the post victory laps, I'm going with human controlled.

Honestly, those "victory laps" look like the most automated part to me, resembling a roomba bouncing off the walls, except with downward-facing light sensors instead of bumpers.
posted by ckape at 7:51 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]

Pour one out for those gearboxes, which must take a pounding with all that sharp acceleration. I wonder if they repurpose the guts of cordless drills when building these.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:59 AM on June 22

I've done a much slower-paced Lego Mindstorms version of this competition (complete with the same black-disc-with-white-border arena), and the design and behavior of these robots seem completely consistent with those of the fully-automated robots we built. Can someone who thinks these are remotely controlled, beyond simply triggering the robots (which is surely a buzzsaw you don't want to stick your hand into—note that the ref is wearing shinguards!), please point to a place where you think you're seeing human remote control during a bout?
posted by The Tensor at 10:02 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]

This is the most wonderful and the most terrifying thing. I couldn't help imagining autonomous killing machines moving at this pace and faster.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:17 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]

So, any one else reminded of this little guy?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 6:31 PM on June 22

Ok, now make it creepier. Prohibit wheels. Walking bots only.

(It might get rid of the boring wedge-shape sameness)
posted by ctmf at 7:37 PM on June 22

I should totally make one of these but I think I'd get distracted making a robot that threw salt, slapped its metal thighs, stomped around, put its hands on its knees and bailed out 45 times before actually starting a match.
posted by range at 8:24 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]

Some of those flag-deploying bots only make sense if they're intended to fool machine vision.

Sadly, I had imagined something less practical and more romantic when I saw those.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:08 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]

It's amazing how fast they move. As a programmer, it's really interesting to see the different characteristics and ways they interact; you can see into some of the processes they used when engineering the robots. Making one that wins constantly must be extremely challenging.
posted by coltonhurst at 7:48 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I suspect the "victory dance" is actually an automated sweep of the area because it doesn't know the other robot is gone.
posted by RobotHero at 2:06 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]

Ahh here's a bit more. Definitely autonomous and definitely awesome: link Some of those things apparently suck themselves down onto the surface, like old school F1 race cars with ground effect fans. This is the greatest.
posted by notyou at 8:49 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]

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