Monday, 23 January 2017

Humans Stand No Chance

Everyone has played air hockey at some point in their lives. If you're one of the few who have not, it's a pretty cool experience where a disc - the puck - sits atop a low-friction table and players at either end of the table use some sort of paddle to send the disc towards his or her opponent's end with hopes of scoring a goal. Normally, the tables have tiny holes in which air is pumped through them to reduce the friction, giving the game its name of air hockey. While this game might seem easy to the uninitiated, it can be a rapid-fire, heart-racing match between two opponents. Unfortunately, the dominance of air hockey by humanity might be coming to an end.

I found this video on YouTube from a user named Jose Julio who seems to be some sort of Android wizard when it comes to programming. Don't let the techno-babble worry you too much at this point because it's what Jose created that should put the fear of Skynet into you. In the video below, you'll see Jose use his Android phone to allow a robotic air hockey player come to life and become what appears to be a rather solid air hockey player! Check it out!
Seriously, that robotic air hockey opponent defends the net like a demon! How does one score on that thing ten times? This might be humanity's downfall, and Jose Julio is the mastermind that put the paddle in the robot's hand!

In all seriousness, I find this to be pretty cool as a tech guy. The robot moves on two axes, locates the disc using the camera and predicts its trajectory with the software, and the bluetooth commands make the robot move around its side of the board. This is one of the coolest things I've seen someone do when it comes to using technology to improve a game, so here's a big kudos to Jose Julio!

I followed the JJRobots website at the end, and Jose Julio has actually posted the plans for the robot and the code needed for the software online! If you have a bit of a technical and mechanical whim about you, feel free to create your own humanity-defeating air hockey robot and post the results here! I'd love to see your creations!

I'm no Kyle Reese here, but it can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop... ever, until you have lost!

Ok, maybe that's taking it a little too far, but Jose Julio has created a very cool machine that will not let up until it has defeated its human opponent. The age of the machines is upon us, air hockey competitors!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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