A basketball-playing robot is such a good shooter that it beat professional players in a shooting contest. Created by a team of Toyota engineers, the strange contraption was inspired by a manga cartoon.
According to its creators, the bizarre-looking humanoid robot called ‘Cue’ learned how to shoot thanks to artificial intelligence, the Asahi Shimbun report. The engineers were inspired by the famous Slam Dunk manga and built the android in their spare time. The team were so confident in their creation that they challenged a couple of players from the Alvark Tokyo B-League basketball team to a shooting competition.
As is becoming increasingly the trend when humans and machines do battle, the humans faltered and the robot won the day. Even when the Alvark players got right up in Cue’s face he unerringly drained his shots.
However, video footage of the contest shows that the clunky machine isn’t the most agile on the court. It doesn’t look like it could possibly play defense and it certainly won’t be slam dunking anytime soon.
Cue is far from the first robot to enter the world of sports, though. Indeed, machines now reign supreme in board games such as chess and go. In field sports robot developers have dedicated the most time to building machines to play football. An international tournament called the RoboCup has now been held every year since 2010.
Footage from the event shows that the robot competitors have quite a bit of difficulty staying upright. Between Cue and the RoboCup it’s clear that, while they may have mastered board games, robots still have a way to go before they conquer the sporting realm.
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