Japanese University Works On "intelligent" Table Tennis Robot

I remember us blogging about baseball-playing robots a few times in the past, but table tennis-playing models aren’t really common. A team of researchers around Prof. Kidode at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology are working on one.

The robot mainly consists of two high-performance cameras, a computer and (obviously) arms with which it swings a racket. What’s interesting is that it constantly analyzes the habits of its human opponents, improving its game over time.

But unfortunately, the other player needs to wear of sensors to make the system work (the robot predicts the ball’s trajectory based on data collected from these sensors). The robot’s makers say that when the ball falls within about 20cm of its racket, the ball is returned about 70% of the same time. The robot’s accuracy of prediction is supposedly 20% higher than that of a table tennis novice.

The researchers in Nara are working on boosting the robots accuracy and hope to be able to apply findings to developing more advanced industrial robots.

Sorry for the small picture. We’ll provide a video once video material becomes available.