Ping pong coaching robot could be game changer

The world's first table tennis coaching robot accommodates its opponents' skill level and gives them shots to improve their game, according to developers.

TOKYO (Reuters) - Table tennis players could up their game in no time, if this robot has its way.

Forpheus, the world's first table tennis coaching robot, was recently put to work at Japan's Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies.

The robot swiftly hits balls that accommodate its opponents' skill level, according to Omron Corporation's Taku Oya.

"For example, the robot will hit back an arched, easy ball for beginners, and for high-level players, difficult shots. That means, anyone including amateurs and professionals can use this for training" said Taku Oya, supervisor at Omron Corporation.

Forpheus is able to read the ball's movement 80 times within the span of one second. Then, it predicts its opponents' next move.

Some visitors say they appreciate what it serves up: "You can feel it actually helping you as it's playing, because it's hitting back in a way that allows you to hit the ball back easily, which, so you know, it's not trying to smash it all the time" said motor journalist and visitor at Ceatec, Peter Lyon.

The robot has caused a racquet this year... certified as the "first robot table tennis tutor" by the Guinness World Records.

And some tennis enthusiasts say, it could foster smashing skill level.