Scientists create robotic arm that makes catching look easy

Scientists create robotic arm that makes catching look easy

We’re obviously very fond of all things robotic, from our (hopefully) benevolent future overlords right through to the sporty robots, like the one that took on a human in a game of ping pong a couple of months ago.

Although that the ping pong match wasn’t as amazing as we wanted it to be (nice marketing exercise though), the potential for a new sports contestant has come to our attention.

At the Learning Algorithms and System Laboratory (LASA) at Switzerland’s EPFL (part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), scientists have combined two different robots to create one that can catch just about anything (within reason) that you can throw at it.

The scientists took the arm made by German company KUKA, the same people who made the robot for the aforementioned ping pong battle, and attached an Allegro Hand from SimLab.

Training the robot apparently isn’t much of a hassle, as it “…requires about 20 examples for each type of object,” LASA professor Aude Billard told Mashable.

The end result is a robot that has the ability to catch a fastball thrown by your average major league baseball pitcher, and certainly gives us hope that the next man vs machine ping pong battle will be something for the history books.

Be sure to check out the video to see the bot in action.

Source: Mashable 

Online contributor for Stuff South Africa. Stef has moved on to a career in advertising and will be sorely missed.

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