Zhejiang Humanoids “Kong” & “Wu”
Researchers at the Institute of Cyber-Systems and Control at the Zhejiang University have developed a pair of humanoid robots that can play table tennis. Kong and Wu are two ping-pong playing humanoid robots that have been in development for almost four years.
These bipedal robots stand five feet and three inches tall, weigh approximately 121 pounds, and have 30 Degrees Of Freedom (DOF), seven of which are found in each arm. The right hands of these table tennis-playing Chinese robots are basically used to handle the racket, and their left hands are designed to grasp and serve the ball using three fingers.
Kong and Wu were also designed to automatically track the speed, direction, and position of a ball through the help of overhead cameras installed on each of these robots. The cameras are able to capture the action at 120 frames per second. So advanced are these robots that their reaction time is between 0.05 and 0.01 seconds with an accuracy of 2.5 centimeters, and because of this, these robots are able to rally not just with each other but also with human players.
Kong and Wu demonstrate how China can make state-of-the-art robotic technology, and by incorporation of their design packed with high-strength lightweight materials, 30 motors, and capability to identify location, prediction, and motion modeling, it clearly shows how far robotics technology has come in China.