Ping pong-playing robot earns Guinness World Record

Written by Kamil Arli

According to the developed by Japan’s Omron Corporation, FORPHEUS holds the Guinness World Records title for being the “first robot table tennis tutor.”

Short for Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonized aUtomation with Sinic Theoretics, FORPHEUS aims to “harmonize” humans and robots, according to project lead Taku Oya.

Movement of the ball 80 times per second

Built with two vision sensors to determine movement of the ball 80 times per second, and a motion sensor for identifying movement, the AI-based system also features a controller that analyzes speed. The robot can even project where it will return the ball and where it will bounce to.

And Oya will be the first to tell you: it wasn’t easy. Developing the algorithm required for the bot to position its paddle and return the ball took multiple hours. Now, the platform knows to make an effort to return the ball, even on a bad play.

“It really gives them more motivation to improve their skills”

Alongside its artificially intelligent brain, FORPHEUS uses the table’s LED-screen net at a digital messaging system, relaying critiques and encouragement to the human player.

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“It really gives them more motivation to improve their skills,” Oya said, adding that since he started competing against FORPHEUS, his ping pong skills “have developed.”

FORPHEUS earned its Guinness title in October 2015. Sportsmanship in the robot’s programming is “important” for the Japanese development team, according to the World Records site.

The “quickest in the world”

In 2014, former table tennis star Timo Boll faced off against Kuka’s Agilus robot—the “quickest in the world”—for a Hollywood-style match. In 2015, the two returned to the arena for a different kind of duel—playing water glasses. The much-hyped videos are obviously simple marketing ploys. But the concept isn’t far from reality.

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“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 develops a robot. That kind of world could be possible.”

Source: Geek

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Kamil Arli

Editor of Digital Media Consultant

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