It doesn't matter how many hours you wiled away at college in the rec room, this air hockey-playing robot, developed by researchers at Chiba University's Namiki Lab, will beat you. And not only will it never lose, the robot has also been taught how to string along its human opponent so they think they have a chance at winning, when in reality they don't.
The robot's four-axis arm is assisted by a pair of high-speed cameras that continuously track the trajectory of the puck, guaranteeing a human opponent will never be fast enough to score. But what's particularly depressing for humans is that while this robot would have no trouble absolutely dominating a game, it's actually programmed to study its opponents' playing style and compete in a way that keeps them wanting to play.
In other words, the robot's also playing a psychological game, stringing its human opponent along, letting them think they have a chance of winning when in reality they do not. So as impressive as its air hockey playing skills are, the real breakthrough here is the development of what could be the world's first artificial hustling intelligence. [Nakimi Laboratory via IEEE Spectrum]