I’m not sure if we should be impressed by this, but Pepper the humanoid robot has apparently mastered the “Ball in a Cup” game.
The video above, released by the AI Lab of SoftBank Robotics, shows Pepper learning how to play the game with trial-and-error learning. A human initially shows, albeit unsuccessfully, Pepper how to play the game. After that, the robot is on its own.
After 100 attempts, Pepper finally catches the ball in the cup. In fact, it does so 10 straight times on camera. According to Softbank, the “movement is represented as a so-called dynamic movement primitive and optimized using an evolutionary algorithm.”
Softbank says this implementation uses the free software library dmpbbo, which you can get here.
I will say this. Pepper mastering Ball in a Cup is more impressive than the robot imitating animal sounds. Amazon Echo, and many other devices, do this at a fraction of the cost. But at least the kid’s having a blast.