ROBOT basketball player throws perfect three-pointers – including a half-court shot – during incredible display at Tokyo Olympics
France’s thunder was partly stolen by a hoop-shooting robot who wowed viewers during the halftime show with its skills.
The 6ft 10ins machine – designed by Toyota and called Cue – sank a basket from the free-throw line, hit a three-pointer and even managed to sink one from half-court.
Cue – a basketball-playing robot – wowed crowds at halftime during USA v France on Sunday by shooting baskets using inbuilt sensors
The robot was designed by Toyota and has been around since at least 2018, though previously had to stand on a platform that had been removed by Sunday’s game
Predictably, the Team USA jokes followed.
‘The basketball robot needs a roster spot on team USA with how we are playing, Daniel Harrod wrote.
‘Team USA basketball could use this robot on the roster right now,’ Chris Graham added.
While the Tokyo Olympics provided the biggest stage for Cue to show off its skills, it is far from the first time Toyota has shown off its mechanical athlete.
One of its first appearances came in 2018 when it was 7ins shorter than it is now and competed with Arvalq Tokyo – a team in Japan’s top basketball league – at making free-throws.
It then reappeared the following year to set a Guinness World Record by throwing 2,020 consecutive free-throws without any misses – a nod to the 2020 Games.
The version of Cue which appeared at halftime on Sunday is much-improved over early versions, which were attached to platforms and other rigs which supported the robot and contained part of its mechanics.
On Sunday, the version of Cue that Toyota wheeled out was free-standing and able to move itself around the court using wheels mounted in its shoes – a feat it showed off by moving around the court for each of its shots.
Cue even managed to sink a shot from half court, using sensors in its chest and 3D mapping technology to locate the basket and make the throw
Cue waves to crowds after making all three of its shots during half time of Sunday’s game between Team USA and France
The robot pulls off its feat by using a range of sensors, 3D mapping technology and algorithms to figure out where the basket is located and line up its shot.
It then adjusts motors in its arms and legs to create the perfect angle and apply just the right amount of force to make the shot.
While the hoop-shooting robot has proved a crowd-pleaser, its designers say it has helped them understand how to build robots that can accurately mimic human movement which has multiple practical uses.
Such robots could ultimately end up doing hard labour jobs which are arduous for people to do – such as picking crops, making deliveries, and working in factories.
Designers say Cue’s name is nod to these practical implications – reflecting the idea the technology can serve as a cue, or signal of great things to come.
It is far from the only robot that Toyota has been working on, having previously showed off one that can play the violin.
Toyota’s rival Honda has Asimo, a culmination of research into creating a walking robot that started in the 1980s.
It not only can run, but also recognise faces, avoid obstacles, shake hands, pour a drink and carry a tray.