This ping pong robot can be programmed to be the perfect partner

IDG News Service | May 23, 2016

The Trainerbot is a smart ping pong robot that aims to take your skills to the next level.

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It can be hard to find the perfect partner. But luckily there’s a bot for that…well at least when it comes to ping pong.

The Trainerbot is a smart ping pong robot that can be programmed to suit any player level.
It’s controlled through a companion app, which allows players to customize each shot including the type of spin, the trajectory, and the speed. Three motors in the robot allow it to spit out balls as fast as one every half second… to as slow as a one every three seconds, with a trajectory anywhere from 25 to negative 15 degrees.

It’s an interesting idea. But why even bother building something like this?
I caught up with founders, Alexander and Harrison Chen, to find out. They told me that it all came down to a bit of friendly competition.

“We’re brothers, we try to beat each other as brothers always do. And then we go for the extreme. We try to build robots to train ourselves to beat each other.”

I’m fairly competitive myself, and after spending a few minutes watching the robot do its thing… I was ready for a woman against machine showdown!

I started off in “training mode” and that was easy enough. The ball consistently bounced in the same place, at the same speed. Needless to say…I was feeling pretty superior already. *Smash shot* Ha! Take that bot!

But when Alexander switched to “super crazy mode” things got just a little out of hand…the bot was on the attack! Seeing as how I was a little defeated, Alexander assured me that it was possible for man to excel over machine.

“When we were building the robot, the super crazy mode wasn’t so crazy after we played with it 100 times.”

Are you sure? (Insert slow motion video of me getting pummeled with ping pong balls)

The Trainerbot is currently available for pre-order on Kickstarter. According to Alexander, the basic package will run around $330 and the pro package around $380.

I’ll probably just stick to tennis.
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