Table tennis-playing robots that can keep up with the likes of Forrest Gump are impressive, sure. But students and professors at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China took on a greater challenge when they built a badminton-playing robot that can quickly cover an entire court and return almost any shot.
Using a pair of hi-def video cameras to produce stereo images that are wirelessly streamed to an external computer for processing, the badminton-playing robot can track and calculate the exact trajectory of an opponent’s shot, ensuring that it’s always in the exact spot to make a return.
It’s doubtful the robot would be allowed to compete on a professional level for countless reasons, the least of which being the fact that it uses a pair of rackets, mounted at different angles, to effectively return different types of serves. But as fast and capable as the robot appears, without the ability to aggressively smash a return back at its opponents, there’s little chance it could win a match against a talented player. Unless it’s going for the endurance approach, tiring out its opponent by returning every shot sent its way for hours and hours on end. And that’s how the robots will inevitably take over the world.