When the singularity happens and the machines overthrow the Earth, we’ll have this Japanese ping pong robot to thank for it. Omron robotics developed a machine named FORPHEUS to play table tennis with people and help them improve their skills.
A recent post on Laughing Squid introduced us to our future robot overlord FORPHEUS (Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonized aUtomation with Sinic Theoretics) from a video posted to the Guinness World Records YouTube channel. The robot–which received the record for “First Robot Table Tennis Tutor”–uses multiple cameras, motion sensors, and AI programming to assess the player’s skill level and adapt accordingly. The designers made FORPHEUS display messages of encouragement on a screen to keep players motivated and the company even made a feel-good ad where it helps a father and daughter bond.
Though, we wonder if there’s some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy going on here since FORPHEUS looks strikingly similar to the squid robots from The Matrix. And we can’t ignore that it’s one letter off from a certain character’s name! Hear us out. What if realities are collapsing in on each other, The Matrix is actually real, and somewhere along the line Laurence Fishburne is all “I’m better than that robot! I’m so much more! From now on, call me MORE-pheus!”
Truthfully, FORPHEUS is a pretty darn cool machine. And even though it’s an expensive AI-controlled machine designed to replace the concept of folding up the other half of a ping pong table, it is a proof of concept that more advanced teaching robots could be designed in the future.
What do you think of FORPHEUS? Be careful what you say in the comments below, it’s probably listening.