A robot to beat humans at foosball

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Posted August 27, 2013

A robot to beat humans at foosball

At first glance, the foosball table located in the middle of the Automatic Control Laboratory looks perfectly normal. Looks can be deceiving. In defense, one of the levers has a mechanical arm capable of propelling the ball into the opposing goal at a speed of 6 meters per second. “This is already enough to beat the average player,” said the researcher Christophe Salzmann, who heads the project. And this is only the beginning. The robot should eventually prove to be more accurate, faster, and more strategic than any player.

A high-speed camera to detect the ball

Made from start to finish by several student groups, the robotic arm depends on two computers: one to control the mechanical movement of the arm and the other to provide information about the position of the ball. In order to position itself correctly, the robot must have a clear idea of the location of the ball in real time.

So students replaced the bottom of the foosball table with a transparent material. They then placed a high-speed camera on the ground to film the game board. “Through image processing algorithms, we can analyze the movement of the ball in real time. This information is transmitted to the computer that controls the movement and positioning of the arm,” says masters student Martin Savary, who participated in the project.


Read more at: Phys.org

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