When we first spotted the servo-driven mechanical juggling robot last year, we were amazed by its accuracy to juggle all those balls with ease. But today’s robots are getting better. The robot that you are seeing now uses one hand to juggle two balls. Apparently, a Japanese team from Chiba University was able to teach one of their hand-arm systems to repeatedly juggle two balls at once in an incredibly lifelike motion, as you can see in the video. The one-armed juggling robot was one of the many robots (including Clothbot) presented at the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation this week. According the IEEE Spectrum, the one-handed juggling robot has a high speed vision system which allows its controller to plan for catches and throws up to nearly 2 meters in height at 500 frames per second.
The engineers explained that the robot isn’t just doing a repetitive motion that mimic a juggling behavior. The balls are actually tracked through the air and the system calculates the responses in each cycle. But IEEE Spectrum adds that the hand can only execute about five catches in a row before it loses its touch and loses a ball. The team attributes the limitation to the fact that it has no operating shoulder joint. “The robot is restricted to what’s essentially a two-dimensional vertical plane of operation, so anytime a ball drifts even a little bit sideways, the robot can’t get to it,” the engineers said.