Calligraphy robot has a master’s touch

The Motion Copy System robot draws the eight-stroke character "gaku" (study or learning).

(Credit: Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET )

Many people would probably say their handwriting has suffered the more they use computers to communicate. But imagine trying to exercise your rusty penmanship on letters that have not 1 or 2 strokes but 5, 10, 15, or more.

The Japanese often complain that sending e-mails and texts erodes their skills in writing the thousands of kanji, or Chinese characters, they learn in school. Some are maddeningly complex and, if rarely used, easy to forget.

But brush-painting kanji calligraphy is also a centuries-old art form. Keio University engineering professor Seiichiro Katsura has a way to help preserve it with his Motion Copy System robot.

The machine has a master-slave system that can reproduce brush strokes by a user with surprising similitude and subtlety. It uses a motion-capture system and old-school brush and ink to write beautifully. Check out the vid below.

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