FORPHEUS Table Tennis Robot Teaches Humans at CES

Omron Corp.'s FORPHEUS ping-pong-playing robot will make its U.S. debut at CES 2018. We worthy humans can put our skills, or lack thereof, to the test against the AI-powered robot.


Ping-Pong-playing robots are nothing new. Perhaps you remember the much-hyped 2014 match between Timo Ball and the Agilus robot from RBR 50 company KUKA. But Omron Corp.’s FORPHEUS robot table-tennis tutor will wipe the floor with the older models.

Along with Omron, which is exhibiting at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show for the first time, FORPHEUS will make its U.S. debut Jan. 9 through 12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). We worthy humans can put our skills, or lack thereof, to the test at Omron’s booth in the Robotics Marketplace inside the LVCC South Hall 2 in Booth 25541.

Technology inside FORPHEUS

FORPHEUS, or the simply named “Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonized aUtomation with Sinic Theoretics,” swings a paddle with a robot arm that’s controlled by artificial intelligence (AI) and a 5-axis motor system.

FORPHEUS uses two cameras (left and right) to track the ball at a rate of 80 times per second. They help it figure out how to hit the ball, accounting for timing, direction, and trajectory, within one-thousandth of a second, according to Omron. The system uses a third central camera to evaluate its opponent, based on their movements.

Here’s where the AI comes in. By evaluating its opponent’s movements and the motion of the ball, Omron said FORPHEUS’ AI can judge whether the opponent is good (like Forrest Gump) or bad (like myself) at Ping-Pong. Based on that judgement, FORPHEUS adjusts its skill level to try and maximize the potential for a successful rally.

“We’re excited to be exhibiting at CES for the first time in 2018,” said Nigel Blakeway, president and CEO of Omron Management Center of America Inc. “We are a global company with a heritage of creating technology that improves lives, and we’re looking forward to making U.S. audiences more aware the groundbreaking work we’re doing to advance artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation. CES is an excellent opportunity for us to connect with top talent and potential partners who want be part of our effort to address societal challenges through technological innovation.”

AI conference to occur within CES

If you’re looking to learn more about AI while at CES, make sure to register for our conference, “Artificial Intelligence: Insights into Our Future.” We will discuss the most recent developments, current applications, and concerns about AI.

Leading AI experts, including iRobot’s Chris Jones, Kindred’s George Babu, lvl5’s Andrew Kouri, NVIDIA’s Deepu Talla, and others, will discuss the reality behind the hype and how AI will impact our everyday lives.

The AI conference at CES takes place on Jan. 9, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Room N260 in the North Hall of the LVCC. Register for this conference today.




About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.




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