Rollin’ Justin Robot Gets Agile, Learns How To Throw A Ball (video)

The gangly Agile Justin, ready to toss a ball to its robotic twin Rollin' Justin.

Where was Agile Justin last year when we needed him to throw out the first pitch at a Philadelphia Phillies game? The PhillieBot was booed by Phillies fans after bouncing the ball to home plate. It would have been a different story had DLR’s latest robot been there.

Last summer DLR showed us Rollin’ Justin’s amazing ability to catch. Now they’ve created a robot that can toss the ball to Rollin’. Just as Rollin’ Justin was a great test platform for robotics technologies behind high-speed perception, catching strategy, dexterity and body control, Justin’s Agile twin presents DLR programmers with the challenge of effective ball tossing – something that PhillieBot failed miserably at.

As Hizook reports, DLR started with Rolling Justin and added “1.5 faster arms through different gear ratios; completely new wheel electronics and bus architecture, which allows a 500Hz control loop over all four wheels and steering [degrees of freedom] on the mobile platform; 1kHz control loop for the arms, torso and hand [degrees of freedom].”

Watch the ball toss in the video below. Obviously Agile Justin throws like a robot, kind of sidearm/underhand, not much like a major league pitcher. The coordination between arm, torso, and wheels gives new meaning to the term “pitching mechanics.”

[image credits: hizook via YouTube and DLR]

image 1: throw
image 2: Agile Justin
video: Agile Justin

Peter Murray
Peter Murray
Peter Murray was born in Boston in 1973. He earned a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore studying gene expression in the neocortex. Following his dissertation work he spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at the same university studying brain mechanisms of pain and motor control. He completed a collection of short stories in 2010 and has been writing for Singularity Hub since March 2011.
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