This AI Robot Makes For The Perfect Ping Pong Tutor...But You'll Never Beat It

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To be perfectly honest, we've never been so insecure about our table tennis skills that we'd go so far as to get a tutor, but, hey! It's 2017, stranger things have happened. If we were to get a ping pong tutor, this Omron table tennis robot would absolutely be our first pick.

We've got a couple reasons to support that claim — 1) robots/gadgets don't have feelings and thusly, won't start crying when we inevitably start cursing over ping pong frustrations. 2) This robot happens to hold the Guinness World Record title of being the “first robot table tennis tutor.” We don't know about y'all, but that sounds damn impressive to us!



While other table tennis robots exist, the fourth generation Omron robot, Forpheus, is unanimously described as the best. The product initially launched in 2014 and has continued to grow in function and popularity ever since. As per The Verge:

"Forpheus uses a robotic arm that is controlled by the AI through a 5-axis motor system to swing the paddle. The motion controller, or the “brain,” tells the machine how to hit the ball, advising it on timing and direction within a 1,000th of a second. Knowing this, Forpheus’ paddle grip, ball hit location, and arm position are “all controlled to within 0.1mm.”

"Two cameras are mounted on each side of the robot to help it identify the ping-pong balls, which is identical to the way a human would see an object in a 3D space. Omron claims the machine can detect the ball’s speed and rotation up to 80 times per second, which allows it to predict the ball’s trajectory. There’s another camera in the middle, which tracks the player’s movements to evaluate their skill level. Analyzing the trajectory of the ball in relation to the player using machine learning, the AI can judge its opponent’s abilities and adjust its own playing level to match it."

We can't speak for everyone reading, but that description made us really want to play some ping pong. If nothing else, it would be fun as hell to try and beat this thing. Yeah yeah, we know, it's practically impossible! Still, the bragging rights would be awfully cool, no?



We weren't able to locate purchasing information for the Forpheus and it's likely that even if we had, it would run you thousands of dollars. Table tennis stardom doesn't come cheap, guys. In the meantime, maybe just try hitting the ball up against a wall until your skills improve.

Image Via Getty

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