[CEATEC 2014] When it comes to robotic movement, it can be quite a challenge to ensure that a robot is able to know where it is going, figure out just what kind of obstacles are ahead of it, and react accordingly. Hence, for Omron to come up with this huge robot (in relation to the average human ping pong player, of course) is quite an achievement by itself. It must be noted that from what we have seen of the robot on the CEATEC showfloor, it is pretty decent at cross court rallies, although it remains to be seen just what kind of “player” it would be in an actual, competitive match.
Would it be able to survive drop shots? How about those varying net play that sends the ball flying from one side of the table to the other? Basically, the task of this ping pong (or table tennis if you prefer) robot is to use its array of sensors to determine the next course of action required to ensure that a rally remains in play for the longest time possible, and it will not attempt to outplay the human opponent, but rather, in order to fulfill its objective, it returns the ball to a spot which is deemed to be easy for its human opponent to retrieve and send it back.
3D image processing is used to recognize the opponent’s movement and trajectory of the ball, allowing it to move the bat with great speed and precision, ensuring that the ball will be returned at an equal speed – as far as possible, of course. Perfect for those who would like to perfect their rallying skills. You’d need a pretty big house and deep pockets to own this, I am sure.