Robot Pockets Balls Like a Pool Shark
Anything robots can do has long since outpaced the absurdity offered up by "Dogs Playing Poker." Now a humanoid German robot with two arms has shown how it can pocket ball after ball when playing pool.
The robotic wunderkind has an 80 percent success rate with the easier shots, according to IEEE Spectrum's Automaton. Such success comes from a camera located above the pool table that tracks ball positions and calculates the shot difficulties. That allows the robot to figure out the best shots to take.
The system is the brainchild of Thomas Nierhoff, a master's student at the Technische Universitat Munchen in Germany. He narrates a video that culminates with his robot showing off its camera-aided skills by pocketing five balls in a row.
But human players need not despair about the camera advantage; they can use it as well. A projector installed with the camera can show lines on the table that indicate the angles for the best shots. Who said the automated future was for robots only?
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