Timo Boll will soon take on the UHTTR-1 robot at a game of ping pong


Robots might not be in line to take over the world from us humans but this does not mean that they are not biding their time. Robots are still far from edging out a human especially in team sports, but in a one-on-one face off like a game of ping pong, humans might have met their match. We do know that Timo Boll would be going bat-to-bat against the KUKA robot real soon, but with the one handed Ulf Hoffman Tischtennis Roboter, do ordinary people like you and me who play ping pong recreationally stand a chance?

Back in 2011 we featured a couple of humanoid robots designed to play table tennis. Industrial mechanic Ulf Hoffman recently unveiled a similar robot that he and his friends have been working on for the past couple of years. He calls it the Ulf Hoffman Tischtennis Roboter (Ulf Hoffman Table Tennis Robot) or UHTTR-1 for short. As you can see the robot’s arm is on a rail mounted at one of the ends of a ping pong table. It’s made of aluminum, making it light enough for its servos to rapidly ferry it across the length of the table. It may only have one arm, but the robot has two things we don’t have: a second pair of eyes. Four cameras mounted at the top corners of the room track the ball’s position and send that data to the UHTTR-1′s software.

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