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Meet table-tennis playing robot that stroked its way into Guinness Book Records



Meet table-tennis playing robot that stroked its way into Guinness Book Records

Omron’s imposing bat-holding robot which was once unable to “even return a Ping-Pong ball” contraption has evidently come a long way over the last few years as it has found its way into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Awarded for its “unique technological intelligence and educational capabilities,” the unique robot was developed not only to advance the Japanese company’s sensor and control technology, but also to harmonize humans and robots by using it to teach table tennis to human players.

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Project lead Taku Oya explains that the robot functions using two vision sensors and one motion sensor. “[The] vision sensors identify the movement of the ball, and the motion sensor identifies the movement of the opponent. It also uses a controller that can analyze speed at one thousand times a second. By using these different sensors, it’s able to judge the skill level of the player.”

A fun feature that helped the setup earn its “tutor” label is the LED screen on the table’s net that shows messages of encouragement between points, while also counting the number of shots in a rally.

“At the moment it is a human who teaches a robot how to behave or teach,” Oya said. “But in the next 20 years it may be possible that a robot teaches a robot, or a robot develops a robot.” Wait … wouldn’t that be one backhand smash away from the robot apocalypse? Oya asked rheotorically.

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