Can Chinese robots match the skills of their table tennis players?

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Can Chinese robots match the skills of their table tennis players?

The speed by which Chinese players play the sport of table tennis was already very difficult for the human eye to pick.  Students from Zhejiang University have further strengthened the Chinese table tennis army as they have designed the robots that can play
the sport like any other human being.

University is based in East of China as students have shown their love and dedication towards the game by developing the robots that made their debut on Sunday, October 11th. Robots are about 55 kilogram in weight and 1.6 metres tall as they played
the game against each other and with humans.

News were first published by Xinhua news agency who stated that a total number of two robots have been designed by the student of Zhejiang University.  It stated, “Two smart robots that are able to track the movements of a table tennis ball and play back
through a motion control system equipped with a built-in camera and an intelligence processing unit were unveiled by a lab of Zhejiang University here Sunday.”

Xiong Rong is the chief designer behind the project as he explained the functionalities of the machines. He stated, “We tried to develop a robot that is capable of accurate control and instant, continuous response.” Rong further added that, “Table tennis
creates higher requirements for the robots in terms of reaction time, visual processing, identification and calculation.”

Robots have cameras installed to monitor the ball which have the ability to capture 120 images per second. The images are transferred to the processor which then determines the speed, angle and location of the ball. High speed processors are installed to
ensure the quick response of the robots which is a main requirement in the game.

Xiong explained that the robots only take about 50 to 100 milliseconds to initiate their response and the error of margin is only about 2.5 centimetres. The robots are named Wu and Kong and it took four years of hard work by the scientists at Zhejiang University
to finally get them ready.  It will be interesting to see if ITTF allows inclusion of such robots in the professional table tennis teams for the coming future.

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