Our ping-pong robot has been awarded with the Grand Prix in the Innovation Awards 2014, as selected by U.S. Journalists at the CEATEC. CEATEC Japan (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) is the biggest exhibit of the latest lT and electronic technologies in all of Asia. The awards are presented for those items deemed to be outstanding in respect of an innovative character and potential influence on the U.S. market, by an independent panel of judges.
A robot adjusting to its human partner
We made this ping-pong robot for the purpose of demonstration, so visitors could actually see the fruits of our challenge of this technological evolution aimed at the construction of new relationships between people and machines, through adjustment by the machine to the human partner. Our robot was designed for long continuation of rallies with its human opponent. To this end, it forecasts the ball trajectory and velocity based on data on the opponent's physical movement and ball position, and returns the ball to a spot and at a velocity making it easy for the opponent to hit back.
The judging panels comments
Mr. Michael Kanellos, who headed the Grand Prix judging panel, commented as follows on the assessment that led to selection of the ping-pong robot. "We decided to award the Grand Prix to Omron's Ping Pong robot because robots have captured the imagination of the technology industry. Omron, which has long been a leader in automation and industrial machinery, is developing the core technology for the next generation of robotics. Currently, industrial robots are generally built to perform fixed, repetitive tasks. Omron's Ping Pong Robot is a thought experiment: will it be possible to develop robots that can perform a variety of tasks in a changing environment? A robot that can adapt to circumstances could do the work of six or seven fixed function robots. Creating such a robot, however, would also require advances in real time processing, sensing and mechanics. To create its Ping Pong Playing robot, Omron leveraged technology from different disciplines. It is a work in progress…Omron also, significantly, came up with a clever way to highlight its accomplishments. It was one of the most popular exhibits at the show. Omron came up with a way to make people stop, listen and maybe start to think about technology advances that they may not fully experience for a few years."