Basketball With a Robotic Twist

Robotics Basketball

Toyota Building Impressive Robotic Basketball Player

Look out Steph Curry & Klay Thompson; you may have some serious competition in future 3-point shootout contests.

Remarkably, Toyota has effectively built a 6’ “10” robot called Cue 3that can hit shots at a pretty impressive clip. In a recent demo, Cue 3 made 5 out of 8 three-point shots. In the world of robotics, this is a breakthrough showing that robots are now able to complete far more complex physical manoeuvres than ever before.

For the most part, today’s robots have been limited to relatively narrow tasks, like assembly work or vacuuming or moving items around in a warehouse. Though Cue 3is not ready to make the leap to the NBA yet due to the fact that it can’t run, dribble or dunk yet, sinking a three-pointer is an impressive feat.

To attempt to explain this at its simplest form, the robot computes as a three-dimensional image where the basket is, using sensors on its torso, and adjusts motors inside its arm and knees to give the shot the right angle and propulsion for a swish.

During one of Cue 3’s demonstrations in Japan, Yudai Baba, a basketball player likely representing Japan at the 2020 Olympics took some shots next to the robot, and concluded that, “We human players are still better for now.”

According to Toyota, Cue 3’s name is meant to reflect the idea that technology can serve as a cue, or signal of great things to come.

Who knows, at this rate, maybe in 20 years we will have a robot capable of doing everything on the basketball floor?


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