You know those punching dummies in the gym that you practice your crosses, hooks, jabs and straights on? It's such a sweet guy, letting you smack it around without a peep of complaint. The Punching Pro is just like that, except it punches you back.
Created by Kris Tressider, the boxing (or chess-boxing, if you're into that) trainer is intended to make solo boxing practice just a tad more interesting. Instead of just punching an inanimate opponent, it offers a little more challenge, throwing up semi-randomized blocking motions, and forcing you to dodge and weave by punching right back.
The main innovation of the Punching Pro lies in the pair of articulated steel arms that turn it into an automated sparring partner, rather than a defenseless mannequin. The arms can tuck, swing and extend, allowing for a variety of actions that add spice to your boxing practice. Both the height of the dummy and the reach of the arms can be adjusted to suit your preferred pace.
In its current form, the prototype version uses two 12-volt motors from windshield wipers to operate the arms via steel cables. The head is mounted on a firm spring to mimic the resistance offered by human heads when punched, while the arms are calibrated to stop once blocked. The various action modes the prototype performs are currently changed manually using onboard dials and switches, although Kris says he's planning to start work on the software to automatically control all that. He's also looking to add a third motor to include hooks and jabs to the sparring robot's feature set.
As of now, the Punching Pro is a long way out from actual production. Kris, in fact, is trying to secure funding to help complete the development and get it ready for the market. He estimates future retail pricing for the completed version at around $1,000.