"Punching Pro" Sparring Robot.
Australian Structural Designer Kris Tressider is developing a sparring aid which punches back. He has videos of his prototype in action.
The Punching Pro is an automated sparring partner which is designed to make it trickier to land punches by creating a semi-randomised range of arm movements.
The arms can rotate at varying speeds, on a couple of different planes, so that the torso of the dummy is obscured and you are forced to duck and weave in order to avoid the arms and land a punch.
The head is mounted on a firm spring, so if you hit it, it responds with a similar amount of resistance to a human head.
The Punching Pro's articulated steel arms are driven by two 12-volt windshield wiper motors, which run off mains power. Each arm swivels on a golf-cart-wheel-derived rotational shoulder axis, and incorporates a bending cable-controlled elbow. This feature allows the arms to tuck, swing and extend, not unlike a human's.
The height of the apparatus and the reach of the arms can be adjusted to suit individual users, as can the speed at which the device throws punches. Weights can be added to its base, to keep it stable.
While a cam mechanism ensures that the arms will always swing in a non-conflicting alternating left-right pattern, individual controls for each arm are said to add a degree of unpredictability to the Pro's actions. A third motor can also be added, which introduces random combinations of hooks and jabs to the mix.
Looks like some good rockem sockem fun. Hopefully he gets the support he needs to develop it.
A padded torso absorbs what body shots the user is able to get in, while the spring-loaded neck causes the head to snap back when receiving blows. When blocked by the user, the arms pause without affecting the internal timing mechanism – this is said to lower the risk of the device actually harming its human sparring partner.
"I have made recent modifications to the drive system to make the arms a lot more flexible and able to take a lot more punishment," Tressider told Gizmag. "The next step is to start working on the software side of things so that it can change modes automatically (it has hundreds of different modes which are currently changed manually with dials and switches).
I have had some interest from various boxing clubs and other individuals who are keen to test out the robot, and even try to buy one, but really I am still seeking funding or investment to help bring the product to the next level, and to the market."
Ultimately, Kris hopes to be able to sell the Punching Pro
for a retail price of under US$1,000.