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  Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
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   Author  Topic: Another project for a Chess Playing Robot  (Read 1770 times)
Mike Watters
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Re:Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
« Reply #20 on: October 5, 2005, 05:17AM »
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Ismenio

Shortly after I wrote the post I realised why David Levy may have been so complimentary about the Milton Bradley. The company he had set up with Kevin O'Connell, Intelligent Software did the chess program and the software for the mechanism of the Milton Bradley. 

In June 1981 MB phoned him looking for advice. He went over to Massachusetts and he tells the story as follows :-

"When I arrived they showed me into a room and, after asking me to sign the traditional non-disclosure agreement, they put a machine on the table, switched it on, and a pawn moved - as if by magic - from e2 to e4 - without any human intervention or any visible, physical device for making the move. I was fascinated.

This was the idea they wanted to develop: that is, they wanted the mechanism that had just moved the pawn developed to the point where it would be reliable enough to be used in a consumer product. And they wanted a chess program that would work with this mechanism."


Whether Levy and O'Connell did most of the programming I do not know. At that time they were hiring some of the best British chess programming talent around - Mike Johnson (Advance), Martin Bryant (Colossus and White Knight) and Richard Lang. It wouldn't surprise me if Richard Lang had a hand in the project somewhere. Though their brief was to produce only a program stronger than Sargon 2 running on an Apple (Elo 1550). Simultaneously they were producing the much stronger La Regence.

This Timeline thing has made me read articles from computer mags I haven't looked at for 20 years. It's great.

Mike

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Ismenio
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Re:Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
« Reply #21 on: October 5, 2005, 04:16AM »
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Great post!!! Thanks Mike! I wish I had that footage!
I had seen the one from Ukraine but I don't remember posting that here. I'm still waiting to hear from the folks I emailed

I would think we should be able to be buying chess robots at a great discount price today at any Wall-Mart

Whatever happened to the future?

Ismenio
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Mike Watters
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Re:Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
« Reply #22 on: October 4, 2005, 06:24AM »
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Hi Ismenio

Whilst researching the Timeline I was going through my chess computer books and came across this. It is a passage from David Levy's book "The Chess Computer Handbook" (1984). I thought it might interest you and other robot fans.

"An idea which caught the imagination of the public as long ago as February 1979, is that of having a robot move the pieces for the computer. At that time I had been invited to play a demonstration game on German television against the Northwestern University program (CHESS 4.6), and with the help of David Cahlander the program, playing on a computer in Minneapolis, was linked by satellite to an enormous robot arm located in the studio in Hamburg. In fact the arm was so big that a micro-switch was used to prevent it from stretching too far forward and hitting me on the head.

I sat in a soundproof glass booth, facing the Swedish built robot. Between us was the Cahlander magnetic chessboard. Whenever the program moved, the robot would return to its 'control' position and then it infallibly picked up the program's piece and moved it to its new square. When the program made a capturing move the robot would first pick up my piece, the one being captured, and deposit it in the box at the side of the board. Finally, when the game was drawn after some 10 hours play (which was interrupted several times because of breakdowns in the satellite communications), the robot pushed forward its pincers to shake hands with me!

The popularity of the event can be judged from the fact that some 70,000 people wrote in to the television station to obtain copies of the game score together with annotations supplied by both players. Soon after that programme was screened, two companies started work on robot arms that were to be an integral part of commercially available chess computers. Both of these products are relatively expensive, and neither has been a commercial success.

More recently, the Milton-Bradley Company has produced a robotic chess computer which works in a different way. Instead of having an arm to move the pieces from above the board, the Milton-Bradley 'Grandmaster' (called the Phantom in England) uses an electro-magnetic mechanism situated beneath the board, out of sight of the user. The electro-magnet moves along two axes and can therefore be placed below any part of the chessboard. When the electro-magnet is switched on it takes control of whichever piece is situated directly above it, since each piece has a magnet in its base. The piece is then slid across the board to its new square. Captured pieces are put on special locations at the side of the board, so that when a game is over the robot knows where all the pieces are and can set them up ready for the next game. If part of the board becomes crowded, or if a knight needs to move across an occupied square, the robot simply moves any obstructions out of the way, slides the piece to its new square, and then replaces the obstructions on  their original locations. This is real magic, and the price of the magic is much more affordable than that of the robot arms. Another advantage of this particular approach is that because the mechanism is hidden from view, it is much less likely to be damaged by careless handling, whereas it is very easy for someone to accidentally knock a robot arm out of alignment."


For our Chess Playing Robot project can we have one like that Swedish robot? Or one like this......

                             


BTW I cannot remember you showing us this chess robot project from the Ukraine. Well at least not recently.   It has a video and is worth a look.

http://www.vb.mksat.net/cr/manipulator.htm

All the best
Mike
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Mike Watters
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Re:Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2005, 08:02AM »
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4 of 4
Mike


A combination of a Novag Robot, Eyeball and
Resurrection would be nice, but let's build onto the basic features later.
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Endspielgott
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Re:Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2005, 07:46AM »
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Ismenio I am also with you.
Christian
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Re:Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2005, 06:14AM »
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Hi Ismenio
Count me in.
Just the basic features would be fine.
Bryan
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Ismenio
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Re:Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2005, 04:37PM »
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I may some sort of good news here. I've found a guy who is willing to at least take a look at a project like this!

So, what I would like to know is, how many of us would be interested in it. I need a headcount before we can proceed. I don't have an idea of how much each robot would cost or all the details at this time. He has built one with his students so he has something to start with!
Let me know if you're interested and what features you're would like to see. The basic idea right now is to use a standard chess board and pieces and have a camera capture snapshots of the game as it progresses so the computer can know where to move.

I'll wait a couple of weeks and then see where we are. Depending on how many people we get we may even be able to lower the overall cost if we can get discount on the price of the parts. I will not be making money here and just want to share the opportunity with everyone.

Affirmative regards,

Ismenio

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Ismenio
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Re:Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2005, 07:59AM »
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Bryan,

Many thanks for that post! I had seen the video and their PDF before but you actually got a response from them! They never replied to my inquiries!
I thought from the beginning that this was somehow connected to the never-released Robotic Arm Chess Computer from Excalibur!

Iíve seen many leads on this but nothing concrete except for a few university projects where I also havenít got a single response from any of the ones Iíve tried to contact. For individual projects, thereís one in UK, another one in India and one in Brazil where I keep in touch with them but progress is slow. For the Brazilian one, the guy said he could actually build one for me but the price tag of $1,700.00 was a bit too spicy for my taste

You would think that at this day and age things would be easier than in the 80s when the Novag Robot came out!

Ismenio
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Bryan Whitby
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Re:Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2005, 04:52AM »
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Hi
I have recently had contact with Prof. Tso of the Hong Kong University and he has confirmed that the Mechatronics Chess Playing System project did used a Excalibur Electronics Grandmaster chess computer and that the robot arm worked perfectly ok with it. So Excalibur do have the robotic arm working but for some reason have decided at this moment in time, not to introduce it into their production line.
In the following video link, you can see that it's a Excalibur Grandmaster chess computer with a little bit of camouflage.
http://cidampc7.cityu.edu.hk/cidam/clips/chess_playing_robot-1.wmv
Regards
Bryan
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Ismenio
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Re:Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
« Reply #29 on: September 7, 2005, 05:18PM »
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Nothing yet Bryan. Today I sent another message to the university they're associated with. I'll post updates here.

The other one I keep my eye on, from Hong Kong seem to have the page down at this time. We talked about that back in May: http://users.boardnation.com/~chesscomputers/index.php?board=1;action=display;threadid=162;start=0

Ismenio
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Re:Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
« Reply #30 on: September 7, 2005, 01:18AM »
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Any news yet?
Bryan
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Another project for a Chess Playing Robot
« Reply #31 on: September 5, 2005, 08:36AM »
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I just found this project from some folks down in Brazil. Sadly, doesn't look like they have had any updates for well over a year. But I'll try to contact them to get some more information.
I am downloading their latest progress report (PDF) now (77 pages!)

Main page: http://chessrobot.sites.uol.com.br/
This is the link to the introduction page: http://chessrobot.sites.uol.com.br/OProjeto.htm





Google transation of the text:

PROJECT CHESS ROBOT digital Representation of the robotic arm and chessboard INTRODUCTION Currently is common that an active chess player has in its house a microcomputer with a software of installed chess being able to dispute a departure "lightning" with an opponent with quality equal or stronger than of Great the International Masters.  Softwares of chess current is starting to place in xeque the sovereignty human being in the game Dos Reis.  A time that software Deep Blue, developed for IBM, was capable to defeat the world-wide champion Garry Kasparov.  Beyond softwares developed for microcomputers, the dedicated computers to the chess also exist.  These computers are specific machines to play chess, where in its great majority if they present with a format of a real tray.  In its great majority its processors turn around 10 Mhz and the size of the programs is for 32 return of Kb.  During the plays the computer indicates the part and the position in which if it desires to play, does not put into motion the parts.  The movements are carried through by the adversary, who in the case is the person who is playing.  One of the advantages of these computers front to softwares it is that the game is carried through with the real parts instead of a screen.  It is fact that softwares of today is well more powerful than these computers, but its standard of game is enough to impose resistance 98% of the players.  In sight of this, which would be the importance of softwares of chess?  With certainty they are well useful in the aid of solutions of problems, study of openings and ends, training of tactics, or still analyses of departures.  OBJECTIVE To develop a man-machine interface for the accomplishment of a game of chess, associating the complexity of software with the realism of the parts in a chessboard, where in which the movements would be carried through by a robot;  or either, the man would play chess with the robot that would be "controlled" for the software of the game.  Thus taking care of, a frequent yearning of many chess players, who do not make use of adversaries to the height during its training, or for beginning players that they desire to improve its techniques, a time that for being controlled for a software, this possesss diverse levels of difficulty.  AS IT FUNCTIONS Schematical of the system Through sensors installed in the tray, the robot will go "to visualize" launches it of the human player.  The CPU will go then to process launches it reply, using a chess software.  The reply it is sent to the robotic arm through the put into motion controller, thus, the part.  This process will go to continue until the finishing of the departure.


Ismenio
« Last Edit: September 7, 2005, 05:12PM by Ismenio » Report to moderator Logged

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