iCub is a robot designed to study cognition and learning, and his latest talent is dynamic ball catching. Rather than being programmed to do this, iCub gets ‘taught’ by a human, who makes catching motions while being hooked up to some motion encoding hardware. This approach allows iCub to dynamically adapt to variable ball trajectories, which is the kind of thing that happens all of the time outside of the lab, as it were.
Obviously, iCub needs to speed up a bit if he wants to be useful in a baseball game, and he certainly doesn’t have anything on the speed or precision of robot hands like this or this. But, iCub also doesn’t depend on an array of high speed cameras, and he also doesn’t depend on a constant trajectory for the ball, making him far more adaptable. At this point, I’m not entirely sure if iCub needs faster hardware or software or both, but the potential is here for something pretty cool in the near future.
[ RobotCub iCub ]