The Rollin' Justin robot and his counterpart DESIRE have been busy impressing humans since 2009, but Rollin Justin's latest achievements outshine his trash-tossing past.
The German Aerospace Agency-designed robot can now catch objects thrown at him by using a mix of head-mounted cameras, tracking software and his precision-grasping. It's no easy task -- there's a lot that goes into catching a randomly thrown ball. You have to pay attention to the ball's direction and trajectory, rotate your shoulders to prepare for the catch, move your hand to where you think the ball will land, and then grasp at the right moment. And, with his vision, speed and bendable appendages, Rollin' Justin is able to catch not just one but two thrown balls.
Sure, some of Rollin' Justin's trajectory calculations are offloaded to a separate computing cluster, but he can pull off an 80 percent catch success rate -- better than most Little Leaguers. For anyone concerned about a Rollin' Justin world takeover, humans are still able to control the agile bot via an iPad.
Moving into the kitchen, Rollin' Justin also has the skills to whip up a cup of coffee from a pre-packaged coffee machine. He can even wield a paper cup with enough delicacy to not splash it all over his hands, which is pretty impressive for a robot and downright amazing for a sleep-deprived human.