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Classic Games (Games) Robotics

Robots Aim To Top Humans At Air Hockey 177

An anonymous reader writes "You probably knew that the Deep Blue supercomputer beats chess masters, and that last weekend a software robot defeated four poker champions. But you may have missed this one: a GE Fanuc robot is taking on humans at air hockey. The robot is powered by a special PC-board that can instantly switch between 8-bit and its 32-bit modes. The 8-bit version lost to most human players, but the 32-bit microcontroller has defeated even the best human air hockey players by a ratio of three to one."
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Robots Aim To Top Humans At Air Hockey

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  • Video (Score:4, Insightful)

    by electricbern ( 1222632 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:28PM (#24125001)
    They could make a robot that beats human players at air-hockey but they were not able to make a watchable video or it in action? I guess it is all about specialization.
  • by notnAP ( 846325 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @05:56PM (#24125567)
    I do not even pretend to know ... when computers become better than the human mind at pure abstract thinking.


  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @06:10PM (#24125843) Journal
    Yeah but if they created a working human like arm with the strength and reaction time of an average human and it still beat everyone in arm wrestling or air hockey, then I would be impressed. That kind of research would also be very useful for creating artificial limbs.
  • Re:Boring... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by p0tat03 ( 985078 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @07:09PM (#24126713)
    Well... Since the only way to generate a sizable EMP blast is a nuclear detonation, I would say that's a small comfort... :)
  • by dougmc ( 70836 ) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:35PM (#24127667) Homepage
    The most awesome chess computer of all time, the one that has analyzed every single possible game, and knows every ramification of every move ... you'll never be able to beat it. The best you'll be able to do is tie it with a similar computer. But it will still lose chess pieces, that's part of the game and is unavoidable.

    But air hockey is different. The board doesn't change from point to point. If your robot is fast enough to never miss a puck that's under a certain speed, and the puck never can reach that speed ... then you'll never score. Even once.

    In short, your analogy falls short.

  • by telbij ( 465356 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:37PM (#24127683)

    That's like saying that Deep Blue isn't "unbeatable" because it still loses pieces during the match.

    It's not at all like that. Chess is a positional game. The proper analogy would be that Deep Blue wasn't "unbeatable" because it's position was seen to be deteriorating during some stretch of the game.

  • by dougmc ( 70836 ) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:43PM (#24127743) Homepage

    Yes, if the most points you can score is around five, then you're fucked and it's unbeatable, yes.

    However, that's not likely to be the reality. The reality is more likely to be that for each point, the computer has a 75% chance of making it and you have a 25% change of making it. So in the vast majority of cases, the computer is going to outscore you 3:1 ... but if you were to have an incredible string of luck, and hit your 25% 5 times in a row -- the computer probably couldn't catch up before you hit 7. Yes, the odds are certainly not in your favor, but winning (reaching 7 points first) is not impossible.

    Now, as I understand it, the computer does learn, so it's skill at playing you should increase over time, but humans can learn too.

    Either way, if you can ever score on the computer, then it's not unbeatable. It might require incredible luck, but if you can get lucky enough to score once, you can get lucky enough to score seven times in a row. (Though it seems to me that you ought to be able to make a computer that is unbeatable, just make it fast enough to deal with the fastest possible puck moving in the most crazy possible way. Then you'd never score on it, unless something actually broke/failed.)

  • by hplus ( 1310833 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:59PM (#24127877)
    Show me a robot that wants. Then I'll be impressed.
  • by pitchpipe ( 708843 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:19PM (#24128035)

    artificial intelligence is always defined as whatever a machine cannot do yet.

    I wish I had mod points, you are exactly right. It's funny how people forget that what was once thought to be something only a human could do, if a machine is able to do that task better, then of course the machine could do it better. After all, that is what it was designed for.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury