I have never been a Basketball player, firstly because I cannot hold that big-ass ball in my hand and secondly, I have never been able to put the ball through that damn hoop. However, with this robotic backboard at the back of the hoop, I am sure I can be the next Kobe (RIP, Legend).
Created by Shane Wighton, a man who makes 3D printers at FormLabs, the robotic backboard is fitted at the back of the basketball hoop and literally leads the ball to the basket. The working of the backboard basically lets the player cheat the game and it will even make a kid who can just throw a ball, a real big basketball star (only if cheating is allowed).
Now, this is not the first project that Wighton worked on. He created a non-robotic concave board a few weeks ago that used simple physics to lead the ball to the hoop. However, the guy was not impressed by that one as it was not able to lead the ball which bounced at a specific point of the board.
So, he came up with a blueprint of a robotic backboard that uses sensors and cameras to track the exact movement and trajectory of the ball coming from the hand of the player to the score hoop. Based on these calculations, the backboard adjusts itself, making the perfect angle for the ball to bounce and go through the hoop. It is truly fascinating when you come to think about it. A human who can’t play basketball made a robot who is the “Kobe Bryant” (You’re in our hearts, Kobe) of all the basketball robots (if there is any).
Well, I have come to know about many robots like Moxi or that modular robot. However, I have never seen quite a thing like this one. It even has face recognition tech integrated. So, it knows who is throwing the ball and who is not.
This way, Wighton was able to beat his own wife in a game of a few casual throws. While the robot put all Wighton’s shots into the hoop, it was deliberately punching his wife’s shots away from the hoop. It is that much intelligent!
You can check out the video below to see the robot in action and get to knwo how the creator built the robotic backboard.