Board Robot Review

    Board games love everything. But sometimes the opponent may not be available. And then what to do, all alone? Robots will come to the rescue! In a post we will consider robots created for playing table tennis, air hockey, billiards and table football. In some cases, robots are made specifically for the game, but in others they are universal assistant robots or industrial robots.


    Table tennis

    Table tennis is over a hundred years old. This game only gained popularity at the end of the century before last, and the name Ping-Pong appeared supposedly in 1901. Of course, robotics was simply obliged to get to this sport.

    The recent rivalry of Timm Bol and the Kuka tennis robot was not the first to confront people and cars. Let's start with the simplest devices. In the video below - simulators that can only throw balls, but do not have a hand for beating. They will help you learn to repel attacks.

    A similar device, if desired, can be assembled in your own garage.

    In China, at the Jejiang University in Guangzhou, in 2011 developed a more advanced robot. In the video, two of these robots play against each other, then one against the human. At that time, the best result in a game of robots against each other is 176 hits, more than two minutes of the game. And with a man - 145 strokes. Unfortunately, the speed of these robots is clearly not enough for a serious game with humans.

    A year ago, in May 2013, a video was posted on the net with this robot for playing table tennis. In the video, the robot is taught the primitive movements of the game. In order to further hit the balls, the robot combines the blows known to him. The more he trains, the better he plays. Just like a man.

    Well, and how not to remember the disappointment of this month - the Kuka robot. In February, a post appeared that a duel would soon take place between Timo Boll, the fifteen-time European champion, six-time world championship winner, silver and bronze champion of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, against the robor arm KR 6 R900 SIXX (KR AGILUS) manufactured by the German company Kuka.

    We all together, including me, were waiting for the video from the real fight, we wanted to see a bloody battle ... And we got a full pathos of the mounted video with a huge amount of time lapse.

    The UHTTR-1 robot from Germany is much more impressive, on which its creator, Ulf Hoffman, worked on for two years. Due to the presence of the chassis, the lightness of materials - aluminum is used, as well as high-quality servomotors, the robot arm is very mobile, and thanks to good software - it is able to learn the game. She still does not know how to serve, but Hoffman continues to work on this.

    Air hockey

    Air hockey is a relatively young sport. It only appeared in the 1960s by accident: three engineers built a table for testing the air circulation, which is needed for other projects, and in their free time they played at this table. Later, they decided to show the world their creation.

    A robot is playing for a white team. I could not find details about this robot, unfortunately - the link to the video is no longer working.

    In June 2013, Japanese developers from the laboratory of Namiki at Chiba University introduced this pretty robot for playing air hockey.


    In February, this video appeared. The robot on it is assembled from an air hockey table, 3D printer parts, a PlayStation Eye camera and an Arduino Mega microcontroller . The robot is able to predict the movements of the puck, and it does not need to succumb. The difficulty level can be customized if desired.


    The homeland of billiards with equal chances could be Asia, India or China. The first known pool table was made for Louis XI in 1469, and it came to Russia thanks to Peter I. The essence of the game is to put a ball in a pocket with a cue, and the rest of the rules depend on the specific type of game.

    For a robot playing billiards, it is important to correctly calculate the direction and force of the blow. The University of Queens in 2009 developed Deep Green - a robot for playing billiards. The design looks intimidating, and the impact efficiency is off scale.

    In 2010, Willow Garage trained its PR2 - Personal Robot 2 - a game of billiards. PR2 is a humanoid robot equipped with two hands with seven degrees of freedom and a load capacity of 1.8 kilograms, sensors, including a 5 megapixel camera and a laser rangefinder. The robot is built on the basis of two computers with 8-core servers, each of which contains 24 gigabytes of RAM. Works PR2 on 16 laptop batteries.


    In 2011, PR2 had a worthy rival to play at the pool table. Thomas Nierhoff of the Technical University of Munich presented a human-sized robot, also equipped with arms with 7 degrees of freedom. Manipulators are able to hold a cue in their hands in the same way as a person does - however, more efficiently thanks to a camera mounted above the table.

    In the 2012 video, a demonstration of the ABB snooker robot IRB120. Not only did he drive the ball into the hole, but he also knows how to enjoy his victories. This industrial robot weighs 25 kilograms and has a load capacity of 3 kg and a working area of ​​up to 58 centimeters.

    Table soccer


    It is not possible to determine the creator of table football, since at the beginning of the last century, many patents were filed on this topic. Perhaps it was Citroën employee Lucien Rosangartan, or Spaniard Alejandro Finisterre, editor. The only thing you can be sure of is that the prototype of the modern table appeared before the beginning of the 20s of the last century.

    In this case, the robot must, like a person, control the levers by moving them back and forth and around the axis. In 2002, the KiRo table soccer robot was introduced at RoboCup. 50 times per second KiRo receives information from the sensors and decides on further actions, after which it sends commands to the motor controllers.


    Later this project became really massive in the form of a StarKick gaming table.


    This video shows a robot for playing table football. In fact, at the time of publishing the video on Youtube (August 2013), there was only one robot arm ready to control one single lever. But her ability to send the ball at a speed of 6 meters per second to the right place allowed to defeat a person in this unequal battle. For the hand to work, two computers need simultaneous operation - one makes the hand move, and the other supplies it with information. A camera for a second computer is mounted under a transparent table. Developers plan in the future to do with one computer.

    It is interesting:
    Alternative arcades at GDC: gallery of extravagant home-made controllers.
    The history of game consoles in advertising. Part 1: From Magnavox Odyssey to Super Nintendo
    The history of game consoles in advertising. Part 2

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