June 23 - Belgian scientists are developing a badminton-playing robot to demonstrate how new software can optimise energy efficiency in production machines. Tara Cleary reports
Jada is the world's first badminton-playing robot. But it's ultimate purpose is not as a sports partner but as a test bed to help industry reduce its energy consumption. SOUNDBITE: WIM SYMENS, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR OF FMTC, SAYING (English): "Production machines are continuously consuming energy. So if we can reduce the energy consumption of these machines, we will be able to significantly reduce the energy consumption of mankind." Developer Wim Symons says Jada's computer controlled systems are designed to find areas for improvement in machinery design. So far, tests show that more energy efficient wiring and motor technology can cut wastefulness. Jada is in the process of being upgraded. Soon the robot will be able to move forwards and backwards, not just side to side. SOUNDBITE: WIM SYMENS, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR OF FMTC, SAYING (English): "If you are a good player at this moment you can still beat this first version of the robot. But we are working on the second version, and for that one it will be much more difficult to beat the robot." Which is why Symens' team is getting in a lot of practice. Even though Jada's game will improve, the ultimate winner says Symans, will be energy efficiency.