The PR2 and its developers continue to impress with their versatility and creativity! Robots playing billiards is relatively new – last year a team at the RCVLab at Queen’s University programmed a bot called Deep Green to shoot using what was initially an augmented reality set up that could help human players line up perfect shots. That was cool, but now the PR2 is getting in on the action thanks to a small team working on a week long hackathon project called Poolshark.
What makes this significantly more impressive than Deep Green is that the PR2 doesn’t rely on an overhead camera with a perfect view of the table and balls, nor does it have a rig that can position the cue virtually anywhere. Instead, the PR2 has to play the old fashioned way by looking at the table from its vantage point, recognize the ball and pocket positions, and plan a shot in its “head” (using an open source pool physics simulation) based on its own joint limitations.
Recently the PR2 was outfitted with a Shadow Hand – there’s simply no telling what mischief it might get up to next with a couple of those!
[source: Willow Garage]