Menu
Omron ping pong robot won't unseat humanity

Omron ping pong robot won't unseat humanity

A table tennis playing machine can easily be beaten. For now.

Omron's table tennis-playing robot takes on a human opponent. The machine uses computer vision and predictive algorithms to sustain rallies, but sometimes misses when spin is put on the ball.

Omron's table tennis-playing robot takes on a human opponent. The machine uses computer vision and predictive algorithms to sustain rallies, but sometimes misses when spin is put on the ball.

Healthcare electronics maker Omron is showing off its sensing know-how with a huge ping pong-playing robot, but the robot is still easy to beat -- for now.

The 2.7-meter-tall, three-legged beast looked like something out of "The War of the Worlds" as it was taking on human opponents at the Ceatec tech expo outside Tokyo. When it came to actual tennis table chops, however, it was sometimes all thumbs.

Equipped with stereoscopic cameras and computer-vision algorithms to track the position and speed of human players as well as the ball, the machine is designed to be able to play sustained rallies with its ability to predict where the ball will go.

Powered by five servomotors, it grips the paddle with a four-axis manipulator commonly seen in pick-and-place industrial robots. A controller system can respond to serves in 1/1,000th of a second.

"It's been able to return the ball in rallies that have gone back and forth over 100 times," said lead researcher Takuya Tsuyuguchi of Omron's Technology Development Center.

While that was the case with Omron engineers who helped develop and test the machine, which weighs some 600 kg, the average Ceatec attendee seemed to only manage a few strokes that the robot could return.

Add a little power or spin to a return, and the tripod robot would miss. When it did return a serve, it would direct the ball to the easiest spot for a player to return it. Intimidating smashes are not in its program.

"This technology can be used in manufacturing processes where humans and machines can work together to make things," Tsuyuguchi said, adding that he hopes to improve the robot's accuracy.

Earlier this year, industrial robot maker Kuka showed off a lightning-quick industrial robot arm that seemed to defeat table tennis star Timo Boll in a YouTube video.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags roboticsOmron

Featured

Slideshows

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments