If only Justin robot could catch knives, not balls

Rollin' Justin is an iPad-controlled humanoid that can catch two thrown balls at once. That's a neat trick, but knives would be more neat.


Robots can make pretty good entertainers, and by the looks of it, a German humanoid called Rollin' Justin has the makings of a side show star.

The subject of a paper being presented to this year's IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Justin is an iPad-controlled robot with head-mounted stereo cameras that allow it to catch two thrown balls simultaneously.

In the video below, it moves on its wheeled base as the balls are thrown, getting into the right position for the catch within milliseconds. Justin was developed at the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) as a robot to repair satellites in orbit through telepresence control.

The ball-catching is a demonstration of Justin's coordination abilities. In the abstract of the paper above, DLR researchers say the robot can also prepare coffee. Fetching beer, of course, has already been robotized.

I think Justin would draw a bigger crowd if it could catch thrown knives, but I'd pay to see it go up against a robot pitcherand batter.

(Via IEEE Spectrum)

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