Home Health What robots do (and don’t do) at the Olympic Games

What robots do (and don’t do) at the Olympic Games

by admin

Make a pretty funny video. On a basketball court in Tokyo, where an Olympic challenge is about to be staged, an anthropomorphic robot, with the shirt number 95, tries a basket from the bezel and the center, then goes to the threshold of three points and hits it again. Then he moves away, with a certain ease and springiness (it looks like Adriano Celentano), goes into the middle of the field – a distance from which you usually don’t shoot and if you shoot you don’t score -, and of course it hits the mark. In reality, another video also shoots where the same robot misses the basket from midfield twice in a row. But this is not the point.

These Tokyo games should have been, still should, be the Robot Games. The opportunity to demonstrate how far the frontier of a scientific and industrial sector has reached Japan, the country with which it most identifies. For this, an organization was created, the Tokyo 2020 Robot Project, with the aim of showcasing robots that help us in daily life. So no robot athletes. for example, the two mascots are robots, Miraitowa and Someity, with two big eyes, and the mission to welcome and greet athletes and (the little) public in the facilities. Nothing particularly sophisticated, they are equipped with cameras with facial expression recognition so you can respond by moving your head, eyes or shaking your hand.

Then there is T-HR3 which has humanoid dimensions and has actually been around for a few years in Toyota laboratories but has improved and lost weight, even if it is not autonomous but managed remotely by an operator equipped with augmented reality glasses. And there is the T-TR1 which is a telepresence robot for anyone who can’t stay in Tokyo these days but want to interact with the athletes virtually. In fact, it has a vertical screen on wheels that shows the images of the participant from a distance who can then walk around the facilities virtually.
The list is not complete but the meaning does not change: this new frontier of robotics does not seem very exciting to me yet. They are still imperfect technologies, which one day will be very useful and in daily use, but that day is not today. When to the basketball robot, the point is not the basket made or missed by midfield. The point is that that video demonstrates exactly the difference between us and them: from a standstill, alone, without any markings, a robot can make a basket from afar. But just like that. The Games are and will remain the Games of humans for a long time to come.

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