Do you have that one friend who always beats you at air hockey? Do you have a friend who simply smirks as you complain that they went over the line or that your paddle slipped?

Chiba University has come up with something that ought to wipe that smirk off even the best human air hockey player.

The robot arm created by Namiki Laboratory in Chiba University uses high speed tracking to read the human opponent’s movement and detect the trajectory of the puck to predict where it will go. According to the video demonstration it is highly effective in both defence and offense modes.

The purpose of the experiment is to develop robot systems that can interact with humans in real time. This technology can be used for robots in the home care field or when dealing with hazardous materials such as the master-slave robot.

With paper-rock-scissors and now air hockey under the cold steel thumbs of robots, it’s just a matter of time before all our favorite parlor games from beer pong to slapboxing are dominated by machines.

Source: Namiki Laboratory (English/Japanese) via Kotaro 269 (Japanese)
Videos: YouTube – NamikiLaboratory

Namiki Laboratory has also developed juggling robots

dribbling robots

and knot tying robots