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When Robots Will Beat Humans at Foosball?

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Posted February 24, 2018

The field of robotic study has constant improvement because people are trying to use robots in different segments of life. People are trying to implement robots everywhere they can. A small group of prospective developers tried to make the first foosball table that will beat humans in a foosball. Did they manage to do that?

The idea was envisioned by Christophe Salzmann, the leader of this team in college Swiss École Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne – shorter EPFL. This robot foosball table was a part of the Master’s and Bachelor’s research project.

They had a lot of work to do with this type of robot. Some of the challenges were to make robot react the same rate as human foosball player or faster; how to track moving off the ball; how to teach robot when it needs to activate motors on the rods and when it needs to turn the rod to kick the ball.

First, they made two teams, white team, and blue team. In white team, human controls foosball players, and with the blue team robot controls the players. The table has a transparent foosball field that looks very cool but it can be very confusing for the human player. On the other hand, the transparent field is very important for a robot because behind this field there is the camera located that tracks foosball ball and movement of every rod. They need to use 300fps camera because a robot can’t miss anything on the table.

The motor that controls the rods on the table has the precision of one millimeter so it can have a great reaction when needs to kicks the ball. Robots have a better reaction than average human foosball player. Currently, the robot only has the strength and speed but it is not enough to win human in playing foosball. The developer made a test and robot still can’t beat humans but they think that they have space to improve their project  – robot foosball table. We need to admit that they succeeded their goal to make a robot that will play foosball against human, but now they have one more challenge to overcome.

They need to teach robot some techniques and how to play foosball. When watching professional players play foosball, developers noticed that the most important part is to know or predict what the next move will be. Usually you can guess that by the position of hands on rods. If they upgrade their robot with sensors that can detect human hands, they could possibly predict what the human’s next move is. When the robot knows what human wants to do, it can make its own foosball strategies and – probably – for the first-time robots would beat humans when playing foosball table. If they made a robot like that any type of professional foosball player didn’t have any chance.

Source: Mark from foosballzone.com

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