Toshiba's Advanced Robot Can Play Beach Volleyball|
17 February, 1997
TOKYO--Toshiba Corporation has announced a next-generation
robot with advanced capabilities in computer vision, speech
recognition, and highly refined movement capabilities. The
rapidity of the prototype robot's response to movement
allows it to pass a beachball back and forth with a human
partner, earning it the nickname of the beach-volleyball-playing
The new robot brings together advances in computer vision,
speech recognition and force control to achieve a wide range
of advanced capabilities.
- Recognition of spoken commands, such as an order to pick
up balls according to their color from a group of colored balls.
- The ability to follow the trajectory of a moving ball and then
hit and return it.
- Recognition of individuals by using pattern recognition to
compare people against stored image data.
- Identify actions, such as indicating an individual waving
his hands in the midst of a group of people.
- Shake hands with person, with a movement that
corresponds to that of the person.
The 21st century will see robots
not only programmed to act in certain ways, but able to respond to
their environment, including working with and around people. Such
robots will perform sophisticated tasks, including taking care of patients
or executing complicated manufacturing processes, on the basis of
Main features of the robot
Currently, robots, and the objects they work on, must be precisely
positioned, and robots require detailed programming to control
their movements and actions. All this severely limits repertoire and
Toshiba's new robot demonstrates solution to these problems
that will bring greater flexibility and capabilities to robots. The
prototype integrates a wide range of technologies, including
high-speed image processing, speech recognition, face
recognition, and force control. It will be demonstrated at
Tomorrow 21, an exhibition of Toshiba's technologies, at Tokyo
International Forum, next to Yurakucho Station, from March 4 to 9.
- Two compact cameras are installed in the robot's
head. Image data is processed and the 3-D position of
a ball is computed at 60Hz by extracting only the specified
color region in the image, in this case, the color of the ball.
This capability allows the robot to identify and pick up the
ball, to predict its trajectory when it is played to the robot,
and to return it.
- The robot detects motion in the image, analyzes the motion,
and identifies only the registered motion, such as waving hands.
- The robot is able to detect faces in the image, and identify
- Speech recognition technology allows the robot to recognize
and respond to spoken commands by analyzing the command
and recognizing its frequency pattern.
- The robot has a force sensor at the wrist and precisely
controls force of each joint, the shoulder, elbow, and wrist.
This enables the robot to shake hands with people naturally.