Japan ropes in a robotic guide for volleyball team

Apr 13, 2017, 4:08 AM EDT
(Source: Gary Howden/flickr)
(Source: Gary Howden/flickr)

Japan’s top volleyball team looks set to smash it back to the opponents with its new robotic colleague, who is helping the players to polish their attacking skills against three pairs of “block machines.” The robotic arms, which can be programmed for different training drills, mimic the opponent’s tactics on court, moving at 3.7 meters per second on a fixed track behind the net.

The robot trainer lets the players practice a specific shot, called spike, against varying defensive formations by the rival team, writes New Scientist. What is the impact of this bot trainer on the performance of the team would be assessed during the course of the season.

One of the limitations with the robotic guide is that it moves to pre-set positions instead of reacting to players’ moves, notes The Verge. Its makers plan to upgrade the bot with motion sensors to overcome this challenge.