May 2, 2011 at 3:46 PM ET
Ball players around the world can rejoice: they've now got a robot friend, Rollin' Justin, to play catch with.
"Catching a thrown ball with a hand is not easy," the researchers opine in this video showing off their high-tech playmate. "A tight interplay of fast perception, a good catching strategy, body control and dexterity is needed."
Rollin' Justin has them all. It tracks the balls, predicts their trajectory and positions itself to catch them. In fact, the robot can catch two balls at once. It misses less than 20 percent of the time, according to the Institute of Robotics and Mechanatronics at the German Aerospace Center.
The bot can be controlled with an iPad.
What's more, after a fulfilling game of catch, Rollin' Justin can use its tactile force-sensing capabilities to brew and pour a cup of coffee. Because, well, that's what friends are for.
Then again, Rollin Justin could just get together with PhillieBot, pitching robot, and skip looking for a human playmate.
Tip o' the log to Discovery News