Robot Table Tennis

Robots playing table tennis is obviously a hot topic of research at the moment. I thought we were going to have an IBM Deep Blue/Watson moment when I saw the trailer for a match between Timo Boll and high precision manufacturing robot.

I was utterly disappointed by the final result. I was expecting an event (though obviously sponsored by the robot company) where Boll actually played against a robot, and the cool trailer was just promo for that event. It turns out the trailer was just a few clips from the final video, the video being a pretty lame and derivative advert.

This is a long way from the reality of robot table tennis:

And even further away from the reality of human table tennis: