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Japan: When robotics is used to help volleyball players



THE SPORT SCAN – The Federation has put in place a revolutionary technological system to improve the performance of the national volleyball team.

In the land of the rising sun, the national volleyball team has recently been given brand new equipment, and the least we can say is that the innovation is total. As shown in the images revealed by the website The new Scientist , the players are now facing… robots to train. These machines are actually mechanical hands capable of moving at a speed of 3.7 m/s. They are programmed to respond to the smashes of the athletes, mimicking the “counter” of professionals.

Controlled by a computer, the bionic hands can tilt forward or backward. The main problem is that they do not (yet) have the ability to react instinctively to the movements of different players.

Future improvements

Currently, the researchers want to improve the system by equipping the machines with sensors, making the training more interactive. Anyway, they will display their progress next May at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Singapore.

For now, the device seems to be effective as the researcher at the University of Verona in Italy, Luca Paolo Ardigo, said: “It is a very sophisticated device with good feedback from the players.” Whether the device will have a real impact on the sports performance of players in competition is another question here.


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