The world’s first robot table tennis tutor in Japan has set a new Guinness World Record for its uncanny ability of being 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 unique technological intelligence and educational capabilities.According to the project’s lead developer Taku Oya, from Omron Corporation, the goal of FORPHEUS is to harmonise humans and robots, by way of teaching the game of table tennis to human players.
The machine is easily able to act as a coach thanks to cutting edge vision and motion sensors it can use to gage movement 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, it was only a matter of designing a speed-sensing component, which now calculates the opponents ball at one thousand times per 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 the table’s net.