Watching robots doing sports is pretty impressive from a technical viewpoint, although we secretly smile when we compare these robots’ humble attempts to our own motoric skills. Now, a new robot named Robomintoner seeks to challenge human players, and it’s already darn good at badminton.
This is not the first time we see a racquet attached to an omnidirectional motion platform or a racquet attached to a linear motion gantry, but it’s the first time we see this special combination of both. The clever design allows the robot to move autonomously over the entire playing field on its omnidirectional wheels, while still being able to position the racquet fast and accurately. The robot features two racquets with one degree of freedom each: One swings horizontally, the other vertically.
A Bluetooth connection links the robot to a stationary, stereoscopic camera system, which detects the shuttlecock, predicts its trajectory and plans the moves. The system achieves an 80% success rate in returning balls served by an amateur human opponent, which puts it miles ahead of its robotic badminton buddies. After all, its biggest weakness isn’t its groundwork, but its servings, which still come from a stationary shuttlecock launcher.
Looking closely at the video below, we’re wondering where the linear rail for the transverse axis came from. In some shots, it looks like there are little propellers in the endcaps.
We’re only embedding one video here, although the slightly more recent coverage by BBC is worth a watch, too. Thanks to [Itay] for the tip!