OMRON updated ping pong robot can serve, take smashes
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OMRON updated ping pong robot can serve, take smashes

OMRON’s updated ping pong robot can serve and take smashes

(Courtesy of Engadget.com)
OMRON’s updated ping pong robot can serve and take smashes
And it’s probably not too late to apply for the 2020 Olympics.
It’s CEATEC, so I knew OMRON would once again bring out its massive table tennis robot to belittle us humans, but what I didn’t expect was a significant performance jump this time. FORPHEUS, now at its fourth generation, features improved AI to boost its responsiveness — so much that it can now predict and attempt to deal with smashes. Compared to the earlier versions which went easy on me, I found this one to be far more enjoyable with faster rallies. Better yet, there’s now a companion robot arm that throws a ball up and lets FORPHEUS serve, thus making the robot a more realistic trainer or opponent.
The rest of the robot is apparently the same as before. You still get a display on both sides of the “net” for showing the player’s status (not that the robot needs to see it). There is a three-camera system facing the human player in the main body, and the bat below it is driven by three arms plus a 5-axis motor. These are all powered by a massive motion controller computer sat behind the stage.

While OMRON doesn’t actually offer FORPHEUS as a product, the robot’s aim is to help show off the company’s mechanical and automation prowess to potential industrial clients. Still, I hope FORPHEUS will get to make a cameo appearance at Japan’s 2020 Olympics, because at this rate, it’ll likely be able to sustain some interesting games against top athletes.

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