A new Guinness World Record has been set by the world's first robot table tennis tutor in Japan which is able to play the game better than most humans. FORPHEUS (Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonised automation with Sinic Theoretics)has officially been given the Guinness title for its uniquetechnological intelligence and educational capabilities.
According to the project's lead developer Taku Oya, from Omron Corporation, the goal of FORPHEUS is to harmonise humansand robots, by way of teaching the game of table tennis tohuman players.
The machine is easily able to act as a coach thanks tocutting edge vision and motion sensors it can use to gagemovement during a match. FORPHEUS also features an array of cameras that are situated above the ping pong table which monitors the position of the ball at an impressive rate of 80 times per second.
This functionality also allows the robot to show its human student to see a projected image as to where the return ball will land so that they may improve their skills. One of the most difficult aspects of the project was determining the algorithms needed for artificial intelligence that would help FORPHEUS determine how well human participants play the game.
However, once the perfect computation was established, itwas only a matter of designing a speed-sensing component,which now calculates the opponents ball at one thousand timesper second, before the robot was a viable tutor.
FORPHEUS encourages players to try their best by showing supportive messages along the LED screen situated on thetable's net. "At the moment it is a human who teaches a robot how tobehave or teach, but in the next 20 years it may be possible that a robot teaches a robot or a robot develops a robot,"said Taku.