Robot Arm Developed for Human-computer Japanese Chess Match

Mar 13, 2014
Tomohisa Takei, Nikkei Electronics
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Denso Corp announced that it will cooperate in the "3rd Shogi (Japanese chess) Denou Match" and provide its robot arm for all the five matches.

The 3rd Shogi Denou Match will be organized by Dwango Co Ltd and Japan Shogi Association and take place during the period from March 15 to April 12, 2014.

Based on Denso Wave Inc's "VS-060" vertical articulated robot, Denso developed the robot arm, "Denoute Kun," so that a professional shogi player can safely play shogi without stress. The Denoute Kun is designed for use in professional shogi tournaments.

The Shogi Denou Match is an event where a professional shogi player plays shogi against computer software. In the past, there was a person who moves pieces in accordance with the calculation performed by the software. This time, however, the robot arm will be placed opposed to a professional player and move pieces.

The robot arm adsorbs a piece by using a compressor so that it does not touch other pieces. It allows to use the same shogi board and pieces used in official tournaments. There is a camera attached to the tip of its arm. And, using its image recognition capability, the robot arm can accurately pick up a piece even when it is tilted or is not placed exactly in the square. It can even reverse a piece (to "transform" the piece into a more agile form).

Furthermore, the robot arm is equipped with a safety function using infrared light so that the arm does not harm the human player.