OMRON’s updated ping pong robot can serve and take smashes

It’s CEATEC, so I knew OMRON would once again bring out its massive table tennis robot to belittle us humans, but what I didn’t expect was a significant performance jump this time. FORPHEUS, now at its fourth generation, features improved AI to boost its responsiveness — so much that it can now predict and attempt to deal with smashes. Compared to the earlier versions which went easy on me, I found this one to be far more enjoyable with faster rallies. Better yet, there’s now a companion robot arm that throws a ball up and lets FORPHEUS serve, thus making the robot a more realistic trainer or opponent.

The rest of the robot is apparently the same as before. You still get a display on both sides of the “net” for showing the player’s status (not that the robot needs to see it). There is a three-camera system facing the human player in the main body, and the bat below it is driven by three arms plus a 5-axis motor. These are all powered by a massive motion controller computer sat behind the stage.

While OMRON doesn’t actually offer FORPHEUS as a product, the robot does help showing off the company’s mechanical and automation prowess to potential industrial clients. Still, I hope FORPHEUS will get to make a cameo appearance at the 2020 Olympics, because at this rate, it’ll likely be able to sustain interesting games against the top athletes by then.

Source: OMRON

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Martin is an enthusiastic programmer, a webdeveloper and a young entrepreneur. He is intereted into computers for a long time. In the age of 10 he has programmed his first website and since then he has been working on web technologies until now. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of BriefNews.eu and PCHealthBoost.info Online Magazines. His colleagues appreciate him as a passionate workhorse, a fan of new technologies, an eternal optimist and a dreamer, but especially the soul of the team for whom he can do anything in the world.

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