Researchers at a Swiss university have developed a robot that can beat humans at table football. Liane Wimhurst reports.
Swiss students have designed a robot that plays table football. The blue shirts are controlled by humans, the white by robots. So far, the robots are winning. And it's little wonder - the machine is faster, more powerful and more precise than any human. It sees with the help of a camera that takes 300 images per second. SOUNDBITE (English) EPFL STUDENT, LÉO SIBUT, SAYING: "There is a camera placed below the soccer table and as we have a transparent ground we can get the picture from this ground, send it to the computer and the computer will process this and detect the ball position on the ground." The robot utilises the kind of motors used in manufacturing. In table football one motor positions a player, while another rotates to shoot. Not content with the ability of human competitors, the team plans to pit robot against robot in the future. SOUNDBITE (English) PROJECT LEAD, EPFL, DR CHRISTOPHE SALZMANN, SAYING: "We plan to duplicate the system so we have robot on both sides of the table soccer, where each team can develop their own strategy and in the end we plan to have a competition of these two strategies." The students are also developing a laser tracking system to follow the movement of a human opponent's table handles.