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A robot made me (marginally) better at ping pong

Mat Smith, @thatmatsmith
October 9, 2015
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We're back for a rematch. The ping-pong robot has had an upgrade or two, and in Rocky-style, your rival is now your trainer. Yep, the newest demo from Omron (a company better know for its healthcare products), aims to help you play it at table tennis. The entire table has been upgraded into a display, showing the predicted path of the ball, and even where the meatsack player should be hitting it.

Gallery: OMRON ping pong robot 2015 edition | 7 Photos

OMRON Ping Pong Robot 2015 Edition

To handle the additional task of where the ball goes once the robot hits it, it involves more processing power -- and thus a new computer behind it all. (Appearance-wise, the robot looks just as eerily spooky as last time). It's meant to be a showcase of the company's skills in automation: the robot seems to return more shots than last time (clever girl), and the "training wheels" easy option is a welcome addition. There's a degree of pressure playing ping-pong against a robot in front of a crowd of trade show attendees -- it's a good warm up. We're hoping the next model brings one important upgrade: smacktalk.

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