This video from the Disney research labs in Pittsburgh shows their latest project – the humanoid robot that can play catch with you. This robot is never going to make our baseball players obsolete or anything as it’s throwing and catching skills aren’t all that advanced. However, it can easily partake in a game of catch with you and displays some remarkably humanistic attributes while it does so. A Kinect camera is used to track the trajectory of the object thrown at it, however, the way in which it moves its head gives the distinct appearance that it is tracking it with its eyes – the way you or I would. If it doesn’t make a catch then it carries out a number of different gestures to relay this disappointment – a shake of a head, a shrug of shoulders or a woeful look down at the ground.
Disney says that they are working on this humanoid robot, so that theme park visitors will be better able to interact with their favorite Disney characters. However, Geekosystem’s Mike Epstein has posed the theory that it is actually intended to steal your children’s affection by replicating the age-old pastime between parent and child of playing a game of catch! Continue Reading