On April 1st, Toyota unveiled its newest basketball robot that can land 3-point shots.
The 207-centimeter (six-foot, 10-inch)-tall machine made five of eight 3-point shots in a demonstration in Tokyo, a ratio its engineers say is worse than usual.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s robot, called Cue 3, computes as a three-dimensional image where the basket is, using sensors on its torso, and adjusts motors inside its arm and knees to give the shot the right angle and propulsion for a swish.
Cue 3′s name is supposed to reflect the idea the technology can serve as a cue, or signal of great things to come, according to Toyota.
This reinforces the trend in developing human-shaped and human-liked robots that can interact in the real world with people, rather than simply programmed mechanical arms that can only work in factories.
Yudai Baba, a Japanese basketball player, took part in the demonstration and also missed a couple of shots. If the robot could learn a few more tricks, he was ready to accept the robot on the team, he said.
“We human players are still better for now,” he said.
Stanford University Professor Oussama Khatib, who directs the university’s robotics lab, said Cue 3 demonstrates complex activities such as using sensors and nimble computation in real-time in what he called “visual feedback.”
To shoot hoops, the robot must have a good vision system, be able to compute the ball’s path then execute the shot, he said in a telephone interview.
“What Toyota is doing here is really bringing the top capabilities in perception with the top capabilities in control to have robots perform something that is really challenging,” Khatib said.
The robot will be showcased once more on April 10th, in the B-League against Alvark Tokyo vs Sunrockers Shibuya. Approximately 5 months after Cue 2 appeared for the first time.
Separately, on March 28th, Boston Dynamics unveiled its newest robot, “Handle,” which resembles a bird and used to move large boxes in a warehouse.
The 6 feet tall (approximately 180 cm) and weighing 230 pounds, the wheeled machine glides across a warehouse floor with ease, demonstrating its ability to pick up and move large boxes using what appear to be suction cups at the end of a long neck. It’s referred to as “Handle.” and, according to the company, was designed to carry up to 33 pounds while maneuvering in tight spaces.
“Handle is a robot that combines the rough-terrain capability of legs with the efficiency of wheels,” a description of the machine on the company’s website says. “It uses many of the same principles for dynamics, balance, and mobile manipulation found in the quadruped and biped robots we build, but with only 10 actuated joints, it is significantly less complex.”
On Twitter, the company said that “Handle” represents their effort in logistics.
On YouTube, where the video has already garnered upwards of 2,000,000, reaction to the robot was focused on its ability to replace human workers and unleash violent chaos.
Another interesting development was made by Dorabot.
It attempts to solve the problem of machine learning, and that it requires machine teaching. So, the company developed a smart robot that can teach other robots.
Also, Misty Robotics also claim to have solved the problem of robots being challenged by climbing stairs.
Soft Robotics also provided a glimpse into their soft automation, showing how a robot can perform detailed and gentle actions.
All of these, in addition to continuing reports of new aerial, underwater and ground-based drones shows that the future of warfare may also include human-like robotic soldiers.