You have probably heard of events like RoboCup or Robot Wars. In these competitions machines play or fight against other machines. But that is not the only way robot can be used within the world of sports. They can also be used to improve the training of human athletes. Take a look at sports which are already using robots.
The modern technology is very advanced but not as advanced as the skills of Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch. That’s why it will probably take some more years before a humanoid robot is able to play against a human player. And it would also be very boring to watch eleven robotic footballers play against eleven other robots with exactly the same skills. Every game would probably be a 0:0. At the moment, robots are only used for groundskeeping. A new robot called Intelligent One can be used to mark lines on the field. The robot which was developed by a Danish company and it can autonomously mark a whole soccer pitch in only 30 minutes.
If you want to improve your table tennis skills or just looking for an opponent to play against, then you should check out TOPIO. That’s a humanoid robot which was developed by a Vietnamese robotics company just for this sports. The newest version of the TOPIO is 1,88 m tall, weighs 120 kg and has a paddle in his hand. Thanks to artificial intelligence the robot learns and continuously improves its skill level while playing.
Fitness gyms already have virtual coaches who give courses on a big screen. But authorities in Singapore even go a bit further: They have installed a so-called RoboCoach in several nursing homes to keep the residents fit. The robot is able to perform 15 different types of arm exercise and he can even slow down the workout to make sure the exercises are done correctly to maximize the benefits. The RoboCoach was developed by students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
In American Football, the newest trend is a so-called MVP (Mobile Virtual Player) robot. The dummy can drive as fast as 20 mph, it’s cushioned and it’s used for training tacklings. It is supposed to make the training safer because the MVP takes all the hits during football practice which lowers the injury potential for the players. The robot is controlled by a human being but students from Dartmouth College who developed the MVP are working on a sensor control.