Robot Eyes Track Ping Pong Balls

ishikawa super fast camera robot

Professor Masatoshi Ishikawa from the University of Tokyo writes in to point us to their latest video. It shows their 1,000-frames-per-second camera using a pan-tilt system to track a ping pong ball. The device is so fast it can always keep the ball in the center of the frame. 

Possible applications include tracking balls or players on sports broadcasts and recording detailed dynamics of a flying bird of fast moving vehicles.

And how do they do it? The camera uses a custom vision chip that monitors what pixels are changing, and by doing that one thousand times per second it can keep track of fast moving objects (bouncing balls, flipping pages, falling eggs...).

Professor Ishikawa says they made the video because their earlier clip showing a robot hand that plays (and always wins at) rock-paper-scissors (3 million views on youtube) "lacked enough technical details" and wasn't satisfying for robotics researchers. With the video above (and check out their web page too) they hope to provide more background on their technology. No problem, Professor Ishikawa, just keep making more videos!

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