Table Tennis Robot “Forpheus” Equipped with Joint Research Technology to Be Exhibited at “CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2020”
OMRON Corporation of Kyoto and Square Enix Co., Ltd. (hereinafter “Square Enix”) of Tokyo announced on December 13 the commencement of joint research on “artificial intelligence (AI) that helps motivate humans for FORPHEUS, an innovative table tennis robot tutor that harnesses OMRON’s state-of-the-art technology. Through this joint research, the two companies aim to develop an AI algorithm that generates motivational feedback from vital data and other kinds of information, thereby establishing technology that brings out the ability to stimulate dramatic human growth.
Based on the philosophy of founder Kazuma Tateisi, “To the machine, the work of the machine; to man, the thrill of further creation,” OMRON aims to shape a future that achieves “harmony between humans and machines,” with the latter bringing out the abilities and creativity of the former through the core technology “Sensing & Control + Think.” In 2013, the table tennis robot “Forpheus” was developed in order to introduce “harmony between humans and machines” by the core technology “Sensing & Control + Think” in an easy-to-understand manner. Since then, OMRON has evolved its core technology every year to bring out human abilities. Featuring cutting-edge AI, robotics, and sensing & control technologies, the latest 5th-generation FORPHEUS possesses playing skills high enough to maintain a rally with professional players. The robot’s excellent coaching skills promote the growth of human players by optimizing returns and providing players with personalized tips based on a thorough understanding of each individual person.
Under the framework of this joint research, the two companies aim to develop AI that can realize personalized coaching to enhance each player’s motivation to play better by combining OMRON’s proprietary “sensing technology for reading human emotions and ability” and Square Enix’s “AI technology (Meta-AI*) for differentiating how a game unfolds for each player to stimulate an emotional response in them,” which the company has fostered through the development of electronic games. As humans communicate with machines equipped with this AI while they play table tennis together, it is hoped that a new relationship between humans and machines — machines drawing the best performance out of humans — will be made a reality.
The Advanced Technology Division (ATD) at Square Enix has been leading development of Meta-AI technologies, a new mechanic that can automatically learn from a user’s emotions and then produce unique content based on the data. In the near future, it is expected that a digital game will be playable not only on a display screen but also in real space. Square Enix’s Meta-AI will have an important role in realizing the potential of real space play in the future and the company’s partnership with the FORPHEUS project will allow Square Enix to advance its technology and contribute to this real-world opportunity.
Meanwhile, OMRON plans to apply the fruits of this joint technology development to focus on business domains such as factory automation (FA), healthcare and social solutions. One industrial sector in which such technologies may be applied is factory automation, where machines can better motivate operators by offering appropriate support in a way that matches operators’ skill levels. OMRON believes that this joint research of FORPHEUS will advance its drive to solve social issues to achieve “harmony between humans and machines.”
OMRON will exhibit its latest generation of FORPHEUS at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) (R) 2020, which will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the U.S., on January 7-10, 2020.
*In games, Meta-AI observes the characters, environment and players all together over time, and then uses the information to adapt the general strategies for enemies, non-player characters, terrain, weather and more in the game.
About this joint research
– Duration: From December 2019 to March 2020
– Objective: Development of an algorithm for motivation-controlling AI for use in a table tennis robot tutor
– Division of roles:
OMRON: Development of a concept and architecture for the table tennis robot, verification of effects, and study of algorithm improvement techniques Square Enix: Development of a concept, designing of architecture for the motivation-controlling AI, setting of evaluation indicators, provision of advice/support for development, and study of algorithm improvement techniques