Pong: the robot edition

Will you defeat the robot on its favorite game?

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This entertainment-centered application shows how another type of Human-Robot Interaction. The robot gives a new gaming dimension to the old-school arcade game Pong.

Rather than playing alone, the human player faces now a robot, which reacts according to the state of the game. Through appropriate speech dialogs and gestures, it engages the user in a fierce competition. Several disturbing techniques are included.

Technically, the robot is connected to the game and hence knows the current game's state. However, to provide a real interaction experience, the robot effectively act on the joystick and buttons, and perform eyes-tracking of the ball on the screen. Thus, a predictive model has been implemented to handle the latency due the robot's movement dynamics. This model is trained during a preliminary phase, where the robot plays the game alone to optimize its movements by self-calibration.

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