After beating human beings at Chess, and most recently Smash Mario Bros, robots have now bested us at table tennis, and have therefore won themselves a Guinness record in the process. A team of scientists and engineers have come together in Japan to create the first system that can efficiently play table tennis against human opponents, and they believe that this system will have immense applications in helping players develop their skill levels in the sport.


FORPHEUS, or Future Omron Robotics technology for exploring possibility of harmonized automation with Sinic theoretics, is a Robot that has been built in Japan in order to play table tennis with absolute efficiency.

The robot managed to not just play the game, but also play it extraordinarily well, well enough to even beat the best human players. The technology is now being considered for its educational value, and could go on to become a vital tool in helping humans play the game better than ever.

Taku Oya is the project leader for FORPHEUS, and he works with the Omron Corporation. He believes that this technology will allow humans to better harmonize with robots, and help us raise our skill level considerably over the next few years. Although it has won the Guinness world record for being able to beat most human players already, its primary purpose remains educational, and not to compete against humanity.

The brain behind the brawn

The robot relies on a large set of mounted cameras that studies the position and movement of the table-tennis ball at all times. In fact, it monitors the ball at the rate of 80 times every second, allowing it to understand its movement and trajectory extremely well.

The greatest challenge for the creators of the robot was to build an algorithm that would adapt to the skill level of the human being playing FORPHEUS, and they have managed to do exactly that.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

This is why the robot will be quite handy in acting as a tutor in the coming future.

Watching FORPHEUS in action is actually quite mind-blowing on its own, and it isn’t hard to imagine this kind of technology being adapted to suit other sports as well. This means that the entire face of sporting culture as we know it could be undergoing a rapid overhaul, with humans being tutored to become faster, stronger and better than we previously imagined possible.