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Design of a robotic ping pong player
Keywords: robotics, real-time image processing, stereoscopic vision, control
(Commenced: 01-Jan-2005,Concluded: 01-Jan-2006)
The idea for this project goes back to a similar project undertaken by Russell L. Andersson at AT&T Bell Labs. in the mid-1980s. Andersson built a system to play a modified form of ping-pong: The table dimensions are smaller, the net is higher, and the ball must pass through square wire frames at each end of the table. There were multiple cameras to track the ball in three dimensions. A small industrial arm wielded a paddle with an extra-long handle. The robot's planner incorporated a model of ball flight and impact, and used these models to plan a nominal trajectory for the paddle. This nominal trajectory was then refined by iterated simulations, with concurrent adjustment of goals as better estimates of the ball's motion became available.