A robot with a mean counterhit was awarded a Guinness World Record for being the first robot table tennis tutor.
Omron Corporation designed the robot and named it with an acronym both NASA and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be envious of: FORPHEUS, or Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonized aUtomation with Sinic Theoretics.
The robot, which looks like a jellyfish if jellyfish played table tennis with three tentacles, uses sensors to monitor the ball.
It can also gauge a human opponent's skill level. Yes, Forrest Gump Bot is judging you. It watches the other player using two visual sensors and a motion sensor, which map the ball as well as the human body. If you can keep up, it sends encouraging messages through a screen on the net, like, "I'm very happy to play with you!"
The developers predict that one day the teaching roles of humans and machines might switch: We'll have advanced artificial intelligence to the point that they will teach us—and fellow robots—as much as we teach them.
Or we'll all just become ping pong champions.