This Table Tennis Robot Can Beat You But All It Wants to Do Is Train You

The robot is powered with AI technology that can understand the human player's emotions.
Loukia Papadopoulos

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Omron has created a table tennis robot called Forpheus and although Forpheus is excellent at the sport, he is not there to beat you but to help train you. The robot works with five cameras.

Two cameras track the ball, two focus on the human player and a fifth high-speed camera focuses on the racket. In the meantime, a multi-axis robotic arm can mimic a human elbow and wrist.

With this specialized arm, the robot can hit back with topspins and backspins. Forpheus is the world's first and only artificial intelligence (AI) tennis tutor.

The robot uses AI, vision, and robotics to train people to play better. It uses vision to track the ball and understand the human player, robotics to return the ball and play and AI to understand emotions.

Forpheus tracks a player's smiling, blinking, and heart rate to evaluate his emotional state and adjust the game accordingly. Once a game is over, the robot offers coaching advice by comparing the human player's moves with a professional player.

It further illustrates these moves with a stick figure animation. Before you get too excited, it should be noted that the product is not for sale. It's just used to demonstrate Omron's many technologies in factory automation, healthcare, and social solutions. 

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