Gym Class Hero
Toyota is on a mission to automate the NBA — it's built a six-foot-ten robot called Cue 3 that can nail three-pointers all day long.
In a demo for The Associated Press, Cue 3 successfully threw five shots from the three-point line out of eight attempts — which would be really good for a professional human player, and shows that robots are starting to handle more complex physical maneuvers than ever before.
Cue 3 looks like it was draped in chainmail — Toyota told the AP that it deliberately wanted to avoid the sleek, white Apple Store-esque look seen in "iRobot" and other common renderings of humanoid robots.
Keeping with that image, Cue 3 doesn't have a humanoid face. Rather, sensors in its torso create a 3D map of its surroundings that allow the robot to calculate how hard and high to toss the basketball.
Free Throws Only
Today's robots, for all their bells and whistles — and sleek, iPhone-like designs — still generally excel only at extremely narrow tasks, be it assembling a car or shuttling items in a warehouse. As such, Cue 3 can't run, dribble, or dunk.
But it excels at what it does. And given the complexity of successfully sinking a three-pointer — something this writer could never nail in gym class — Toyota's sportsbot may signify a new era for precision tasks in robotics.
READ MORE: Toyota robot can’t slam dunk but shoots a mean 3-pointer [The Associated Press]
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