I played ping pong with a robot and lost
B Karissa Bell 2018-01-11 1:10:36 UTC
If you still do not know if robots really take over, CES 2018 reminds us that our future is both robotic and slightly terrifying.
But if our future is really a dystopian robot, at least there will be ping pong. The industrial robot manufacturer Omron is helping to make sure, with a huge ping pong robot, called Forpheus.
Omron not only trained Forpheus to play ping pong, but he designed it as a kind of coach. It tries to match your skill level and will even send encouraging messages if its face recognition detects that you are unhappy or frustrated.
The automated ping pong game was on site at CES, and I was able to put his skills to the test. Well, somehow. I should preface this with the fact that I am terrible at ping-pong. Simply horrible. And playing with my robot opponent was no exception.
I opted for the robot to serve first. I came back, and he lobbed a perfect shot directly back. I tried to return the shot, but I was so foolishly out of the target that the ball went over my target – his poor robot arm did not fit my lack of a shot. hand-eye coordination expertise. You can see my fine form in the clip below (from the mark of 0:45):