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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Toyota’s Robot Is Getting Closer to Becoming a Basketballer

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Robots are becoming more and more capable to perform activities as human as the day goes on. Gone are those days when robotics was just limited to creating some machines capable of certain task. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now used to program these robots to act, and behave like humans.

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This drive to creating robots that are capable of acting like humans have made a group of engineers from Toyota to use their free hours to work on a robot which has the capacity of shooting perfect free throws.

After making their mechanical creation perfect,  they made it compete with professional players, and it beat them shot for shot. This has always been the case when a human goes head-to-head with AI and robots.

According to Toyota, “it can’t dribble, let alone slam dunk, but Toyota‘s robot hardly ever misses a free throw or a three-pointer “.

This robot called cue 3 which is a 6ft 1 inch tall machine made five out of eight 3point shot in a demonstration in Tokyo suburb Monday. This ratio according to its engineers is worse than usual. If this is worse than usual, what then will be the fate of human opponents against this machine?

The robot uses a three-dimensional image to enable it to compute where the basket is. After it does this, it uses sensors on its torso and adjusts the motors in its arm to give the shot the right angle.

Players who watched the robot’s demonstration, still insists that humans are better for now compared to the robot. A player who is likely to represent Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is of the opinion that he would accept the robot on the team, if It will be willing to learn new tricks.

If the robot actually gets accepted into the team, how would it feel like playing with a robot, and what would be the chances of the other team?  This is indeed revolutionary.

Unfortunately, right after missing one of the shots, the robot collapsed. It was discovered it wasn’t as a result of disappointment but was actually a system failure. If it were indeed a disappointment, it would be right to assert then, that cue 3 is capable of expressing some feelings or emotions.

Another thing discovered was that the robot’s outer body was made of something like an armadillo. The engineers of its creation said that the exterior look was created like that to avoid the white metallic look often seen on robots.


Other tech companies like Camry sedan, Lexus luxury models and Prius hybrid also showed off some of their own robots. One was able to play the violin, while another was capable of sliding and picking things up. The latter even handed the ball to cue 3, before the match began.

Research has shown that robots who can actually act like a human (human display tendencies) will be handy in a lot of ways. They can make deliveries, work in factories, and pick up crops. This would be the height of it. This is what cue three has shown to be possible.

Although the company plays down the usefulness of the technology, it insists that it is more about making its engineers open to more ideas and innovation. Obviously, cue three has shown that Toyota is sincere about boosting the morale of its engineers, which is leading to innovative ideas and technologies.

We all can agree that Toyota has been at the forefront in creating humanoids that are capable of offering companionship and even more.

According to one of the engineers working at cue 3, he did predict that in 20 years time, robots will be able to slam dunk, a feat that will require them to run, dribble and jump. Guess we just have to wait and see.

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