The KUKA Robot Group is already hyping its upcoming match next week between one of its robotic arms and professional table tennis champion Timo Boll. But hobbiest engineers can make ping-pong bots too. Here's Ulf Hoffmann's garage version, which is surprisingly competitive given its amateur status.
Keep in mind that Hoffmann appears to be just a tinkerer (based on his garage-based laboratory) but his robot, the UHTTR-1, is still surprisingly capable. While professional table tennis players will probably beat him back with ease, the rest of us might be hard pressed to defeat it once it learns how to serve and talk smack. [Ulf Hoffmann via Laughing Squid]