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In this paper, a low-cost robot capable of playing ping-pong against human opponent using a vision system to detect the ball is presented. In the subsequent sections, the three main subsystems of the robot, i.e., the vision system, mechanical structure, and the control systems, are described. A prototype has been designed with lightweight and resistant materials to increase the response time and accurateness of the shot. One of the important features of this system is that it uses only one camera to detect the ball, thus reducing the computational time and hardware requirements. To detect the location of the ball, the robot combines the information about the ball and about the shadow it casts on the table. The expert module control defines the game strategy. Orienting the bat in order to return the ball to the desired position on the table does this. In these experiments, the success rate in returning balls was greater than 80%.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2003