Electronics maker Omron recently unveiled a 2.7-meter-tall ping pong-playing robot during CEATEC 2014 in Tokyo. Mounted on a metal frame that straddles one end of the table, the robot’s embedded sensors and computer-vision algorithms track an opponent’s movement and the speed of the ball. Contrary to popular belief, Omron says the robot isn’t designed to defeat its opponent; rather, it simply wants to keep a rally going.
Powered by five servo motors, the robot can grip the paddle with a four-axis manipulator commonly seen in pick-and-place industrial robots. A controller system can respond to serves in 1/1,000th of a second.
While ping-pong is probably most enjoyable when played against a live opponent, an automated ping-pong platform is definitely a good alternative for those looking to hone their skills with repetitive practice.