Ball Catching Bot


Who needs a robot that can catch a tennis ball? We do. What would we do with it? Probably just throw tennis balls at it, that’s the only use we can think of. The work of University students in Kunzelsau and Vienna, it is actually a prototype for new transport systems for industrial robots. Though they don’t list any specific instances where this is a practical method of transport, we think maybe a tennis ball factory would be a good place to start. We can also envision a robot baseball league between this bot and the extremely dexterous ones we’ve covered before.

[via BotJunkie]

11 thoughts on “Ball Catching Bot

  1. A machine to play catch? Didn’t there daddies ever play with them when they were kids? Seriously is they want to make some real money on this mount a gun in place of the hand, make it faster and sell it as a replacement for the Phalanx system.

  2. Not that I want to go down the route of picking at other peoples comments, but whats up with the “I don’t see the point of it” feedback?

    These guys set out to solve what was for them, and shockingly for others, an interesting problem.

    Not all ideas are thought up specifically to help make money, thats left to the people stuck in jobs that they hate.

  3. i love seeing robots take on difficult tasks like these. a child could do what this robot does with the same amount of ability (and potentially a bit quieter). it really makes you appreciate how complicated seemingly simple tasks like catching a ball really are.
    i would love to see the day when robots perform actual sports with superhuman ability.

  4. What’s the use? Let’s see what I can come up with in a few minutes:

    * Catching machine for a “pitching cage” next to the “batting cage”. Automatically counts balls vs. strikes, then drops the caught ball into a feed track to return it to the pitcher.

    * Nifty-ass throwing/catching displays for science centers. Tennis balls flying all over above the heads of the visitors, being caught, handed to another throwing robot, etc.

    * Replace vacuum message tubes with tossed message balls. (ok, maybe trivial, but why not?)

    * Faster inventory transfer in large warehouses (theoretically with small items, either with or without spherical containers). Put the conveyor belt people out of business.

    That’s all in 60 seconds. I’m sure there are other applications, but the first is the one that I really want to see.

  5. AI for a remote manipulator in an autonomous spacecraft that tends fuel depots in LEO?

    If it can track and catch a ball maybe it can be altered to track and grab a grapple fixture.

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