A robot to beat humans at foosball

Aug 26, 2013 by Laure-Anne Pessina

At first glance, the foosball table located in the middle of the Automatic Control Laboratory looks perfectly normal. Looks can be deceiving. In defense, one of the levers has a mechanical arm capable of propelling the ball into the opposing goal at a speed of 6 meters per second. "This is already enough to beat the average player," said the researcher Christophe Salzmann, who heads the project. And this is only the beginning. The robot should eventually prove to be more accurate, faster, and more strategic than any player.

A high-speed camera to detect the ball

Made from start to finish by several student groups, the depends on two computers: one to control the mechanical movement of the arm and the other to provide information about the position of the ball. In order to position itself correctly, the must have a clear idea of the location of the ball in real time.

So students replaced the bottom of the foosball table with a . They then placed a on the ground to film the game board. "Through image processing algorithms, we can analyze the movement of the ball in real time. This information is transmitted to the computer that controls the movement and positioning of the arm," says masters student Martin Savary, who participated in the project.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The video above is in French.

"We still have some problems coordinating the two processes, but we are going to work on it," added Cyril Picard, another student working on the robot. "It will eventually condense into a single computer."

Challenges of an industrial project

For now, the robot cannot perform complex moves, but its kicking power is already formidable. Christophe Salzmann welcomes the results. "This is a very good exercise for the students. They controlled the materials, assembled the robot, programmed it and developed the algorithms. The work is comparable to any industrial project. It must be accomplished by working in a group, and sometimes," he smiles, "they end up banging their heads against the wall."

The goal: Robots playing against each other

The robot will continue to be developed by other groups of students until it works perfectly. "Potentially, the computer can simultaneously analyze many more parameters than a human and process information faster. It could simultaneously analyze the location of all players and the exact trajectory of the ball after it ricocheted off the edges. All that remains is to develop a strategy," explains Christophe Salzmann. The researcher allows himself to dream: "Ultimately, we could imagine organizing games between opposing robots."

Explore further: The robot and its virtual twin (w/ Video)

Related Stories

The robot and its virtual twin (w/ Video)

Aug 12, 2013

It walks, falls, and gets up on his own, follows a ball by sight and shoots. It also knows how to do many other things. The small humanoid robot DARwIn-OP was developed by a Korean company and three U.S. universities to serve ...

Ping-pong robots debut in China (w/ video)

Oct 15, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Last week some oohs and ahhs were in order as two ping-pong playing robots made their debut at Zhejiang University in China. The two robots played against each other and with humans. True, ...

Robots Playing Shuffleboard (w/ video)

Jun 08, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Intense robot battles have, for the most part, been confined to the silver screen. Occasionally a robot comes by to trounce us at chess, but robot on robot competition has been fairly limited. ...

Recommended for you

Google searches hold key to future market crashes

41 minutes ago

A team of researchers from Warwick Business School and Boston University have developed a method to automatically identify topics that people search for on Google before subsequent stock market falls.

Lenovo's smart glasses prototype has battery at neck

2 hours ago

China's PC giant Lenovo last week offered a peek at its Google Glass-competing smart glass prototype, further details of which are to be announced in October. Lenovo's glasses prototype is not an extreme ...

Amazon launches 3D printing store

5 hours ago

Amazon announced Monday the launch of an online store for 3D printed items to allow consumers to customize and personalize items like earrings, pendants, dolls and other objects.

User comments : 0