Robots Play Ping-Pong The End is Near

Forget Apple’s Siri voice recognition technology taking over the world. I have seen two robots playing ping-pong and now I am truly scared for humanity.

Named “Wu” and “Kong”, these two human-sized robots are the products of China’s Zhenjiang University. They play ping-pong not only against each other, but will take on humans as well. In the video, it’s clear they’re as adept at forehand shots as they are at the backhand.

Named for a character in the classical Chinese Epic novel (“Monkey King” or “Sun Wukong”), the robots are part of a long-term project at the university to build a “high-performance humanoid robot unit and system.” The university website also oddly calls the bots “Big Size Humanoid Robots.” This may be reference to the multitude of tiny robots produced in and around Japan. A tiny robot, for instance, recently took on an Ironman Triathlon challenge.

The two table-tennis-playing robots do not appear particularly mobile. Neither moves its feet during the match, yet they never seem to miss. This is likely due to the 30 motors — all of which can work independently — and the seven separate actions each arm can perform. The robots do maintain their own balance and can detect the movement of the ball — even so far as to predict the path of an incoming shot. And, yes, they also serve on their own — a feat many humans I know cannot effectively accomplish. Scientists are in the background analyzing and tracking the robots’ movements, and it’s unclear how much, if at all, they’re controlling Wu’s and Kong’s responses.

No word on when, or if, the robots will travel the world to take on international challengers. However, if they can play ping-pong this well, who knows what Zhenjiang’s scientists will have Wu and Kong do next. Wonder if they’ve thought about licensing Apple’ Siri technology.

Tell us what you think of these robot athletes in the comments and if you fear an uprising of our robot overlords.


Source: mashable

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