Interactive Tactile Experiences in Free Air – The next phase of fitness and martial training

University of Illinois PhD student Rajinder Sodhi and Disney Research’s Ivan Poupyrev published a prototype of a device that creates a standing, tactile, controllable, air-wave.

The air pressure produced by this prototype is tactile and can be linked with Kinect, and similar devices, to function not only on a passive three dimensional virtual world but in a virtual world that has a variable and controllable tactile and physical dimensions.

Even though we are traditional Ninjutsu practitioners, I write about technological and thought provoking insights that have helped not only the documentation of our tradition using a highly semantic wiki but will, in the future, assist learning, practicing and teaching using new devices that will incorporate depth, tactile information and other variables.

As I look at it, the difference between a boxing bag or a wing chun wooden dummy and the AIREAL devices is not essential. As a training aid these just differ in technology.

קישור – מערכת aireal


Push-up Powerpill

Too lazy to go to the dojo? Would you rather stay at home with the air-conditioning on and workout from your couch? Looks like you might be able to in a few years. New research has led to the discovery of 2 drugs that can increase the physical ability of mice without much exercise:

“Researchers at the Salk Institute report they have found two drugs that do wonders for the athletic endurance of couch potato mice. One drug, known as Aicar, increased the mice’s endurance on a treadmill by 44 percent after just four weeks of treatment.

A second drug, GW1516, supercharged the mice to a 75 percent increase in endurance, but had to be combined with exercise to have any effect.”

Such drugs are obviously beneficial. For instance, in cases where patients are incapable of regular movement and must maintain muscle mass. However, I worry about a widespread misuse of such medication simply due to laziness.

These drugs could also add to the long list of physical enhancement drugs such as anabolic steroids that are commonly used to increase muscle mass in a short period of time. I don’t even want to think about what a combination with steroids would yield.

In any case, much easier to find, and only at the cost of some sweat, is the Akban fitness program. Besides, exercise can be fun as long as your training partner washed their gi sometime in the last six months.

Link to the IHT article


Super suit does what?

Yet another burn-a-hole-in-the-nations-pocket military project has emerged recently, the “Raytheon Sarcos Exoskeleton”. For those of you who are not familiar with sci-fi, this is the type of super strength suit the terminator’s arch enemy would have been wearing.

Sounds cool, but what does it really do? As you can see in the video below, it can allow an average human being to lift large weights with the help of assisting hydraulic arms. While connected to a massive hydraulic controller of course.

Even if you overcome the challenge of powering the suit, will this sort of device not be obsolete by the time it is practical, replaced by purely robotic vehicles? Surely in it’s current state it isn’t much use outside the lab, and lets not go into what it looks like.

As Calvin would have said:

Here’s the video: link


The 19th century gym


If you were wondering “what the hell is that thing?” you may be surprised to hear that it is in fact the forefather of today’s gym. This is one of many bizarre contraptions made by the Swedish physician Gustav Zander.

Cabinet magazine report:

“His mechanical horse was an early version of the Stairmaster, a contraption for cardiovascular fitness designed to imitate a “natural” activity. His stomach-punching apparatus evokes contemporary “ab-crunching” machines.”

Moony writes about it in the hebrew blog


CCTV in Britain failed to cut crime rates

The United Kingdom is leading the Orwellian world in the number of video surveillance cameras suctioned by the public in a futile effort to control terrorism.
It now seems that the huge investment and the anti privacy losses were for naught – Less then 3% of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV images.

The issues involving the spread and use both of state sanctioned surveillance and video equipped private phones has the Akban thinktank pondering the implications of this visibility, both for martial arts experts and for inexperienced citizens alike.

“Massive investment in CCTV cameras to prevent crime in the UK has failed to have a significant impact, despite billions of pounds spent on the new technology”


New weapon: flickering light

A strange one indeed, apparently strobe lights are the police force’s weapon of the future. As explained on NewScientist:

“Wielded like a conventional gun, this weapon is designed to trigger “flicker illness” – a condition akin to severe motion sickness – which leaves the target dazed, nauseous or completely immobilised. Its developers suggest it could be just the thing for disabling armed criminals or dispersing a rioting mob. If all goes to plan, police and border guards could soon be using the weapon in earnest.”

And here I was thinking of a future with sinister looking high-powered laser guns.

They should also play some 70’s disco B-side music as an accompaniment, so as to further shock the target.



Building your own Iron Man suit

With the “Iron Man” movie release, the next few months are sure to see a flood of Iron Man must-have toys and gadgets. However, those more concerned with self-defense will not be satisfied with these trinkets. They will of course, like myself, want to build their own Iron Man suit in order to deal with common threats such as muggers, terrorists and roving bands of mutant ninja zombies.

At first this may seem like another botched garage DIY job, but as the guys at WIRED explain, creating your own full body armor isn’t as complicated as it seems:

The Canadian’s latest Trojan rig is comparatively portable, said to weigh just 40lb all-up. It is armoured with “high-impact plastic lined with ceramic bullet protection over ballistic foam”, and supposedly has resisted elephant-gun fire in testing. This time Hurtubise wasn’t inside, but he has said he’s willing to conduct live-fire trials in person.

Akban’s “Essential self-defense equipment” list also includes:
The Akban AHMD helmet

The Akban SUV

link to the article


Mind reading devices taking control of video games

Last month Emotive announced another device that’s claiming to bridge the gap between thoughts and video game controllers.
The device reads EEG and transforms them into electrical signal to be used in a variety of systems.
This is not the first device that takes the gamer one step closer into the realm where virtual fighting can simulate reality. We reported on the Wii controller earlier this year.
I am not too happy about these tech development as I do not think anything can take the place of the Dojo. But I also know for sure – nothing will stop technology. Is this the beginning of the end for martial arts? We have already seen flight drones replacing real pilots. Are UFC fighters the obvious next step?


Virtual martial arts training – Part 2

In July we published that the Wii remotes are a small step forward in revolutionizing the martial arts studies.

The partial and inadequate feedback from Nintendo remotes is about to become much better with the introduction of a new, and affordable whole body feedback suit that can relay the movements of different body parts and their trajectories.
At the AKBAN think-tank we guess that this specially developed impact gaming vest that allows the wearer to feel the punches can augment the motion capture suit nicely.
In the boring clip below one can see the potential and ease of construction of the motion capture suit made by MIT and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH).
Alas, I don’t think that, at the long run, any kind of system will be able to replace years of hard work in the dojo, only to hasten learning of new movements.

Link to Slashdot article
Link to New scientist tech article