Robots could soon demolish humans at table tennis

21 Nov 2015

Robots are now on court!

It began at the tables, it evolved to the tennis court and then the IBM robots finally destroyed the humans in the squash courts. Really? No, not really, but close enough.

Before we upset our esteemed colleague Gordon Hunt, who eats rivals every day for lunch at squash, the truth is a little less dramatic but warrants a pause for thought.

Drones created by IBM’s research division could tip the tables in the favour of robotics.

What a racket!

Fast-moving drones seem to have all the time in the world to defeat their human competitors with a preternatural speed that would shock even the most able athlete.

An IBM research team basically taught an IRIS+ drone to track the trajectory of a ping-pong ball headed its way and intercept it in order to return the shot.

We have to question whether or not the Cyber Olympics organisers have thought this through and we would like to take the liberty of challenging IBM’s machine to a match against our Gordon.

Bring it!

Gigglebit is Siliconrepublic’s daily dose of the funny and fantastic in science and tech, to help start your day on a lighter note – because sometimes the lighter side of STEM should be taken seriously, too.

Racket image via Shutterstock


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years