Boot Throwing Robot Invented

Posted on August 25, 2006

Scientists at Aberystwyth University have invented a robotic welly wanger, which is a robot dedicated to the task of boot throwing. icNorthWales reports that the robot has even been built with some AI abilities so that it can learn to slowly throw the boots better over time like a child would. The impressive robotic boot hurler can throw boots as far as 80 metres.
Team members Richard Shipman, who teaches artificial intelligence, Dr Andy Shaw, a researcher in space robotics, and computer technician Ian Izett applied their scientific expertise in robotics and artificial intelligence to improve its throwing accuracy - the main criteria for judging the competition.

Up to six wellingtons a time are fired from a 2m diameter computer-controlled disc which rotates at up to 250 times per minute.

A second computer monitors wind speed and direction and relays the information via a third computer and a radio link to a laptop where team members can monitor its progress.

Speaking as final field trials were set to get under way, Mr Shipman said: "Other than building the machine itself, the main challenge for us has been getting the computer systems to talk to each other and then to interact with all the hardware.

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"It has been built with a certain amount of artificial intelligence and during the final week of field trials it will learn in the same way as a small child learns as it grows up", he added.
A post on Robots.net points to a photo gallery and a blog about the robot welly wanger. Another article about the robot can be found on the BBC. Apparently, the robot will have to battle 15 other similar machines in a competition later this month.

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