Researchers at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control (IDSC) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich have created a juggling robot, the so-called "blind juggler," which, in spite of its lack of visual sensors, is capable of flawlessly juggling a ball or balls for hours.
According to New Scientist, the robot was designed by Philipp Reist and Raffaello D'Andrea and uses only mechanical sensors in its paddle, which is slightly curved. The robot registers nine different aspects of each bounce of the ball, including speed, angle and spin. It then predicts how best to hit it next to keep it aloft and bouncing at a steady rhythm.
The researchers experimented with tennis balls, ball bearings and other objects. Nylon balls worked best, bouncing as high as six feet. Not surprisingly, coke bottles and shoes, which humans can juggle with ease, were a bit beyond the robot's abilities.
Watch the video, embedded via New Scientist, below:
Watch Raffaello D'Andrea's video "Dynamic Works," embedded via Vimeo, below: