I remember a scene in Men in Black III where Will Smith is discussing with Tommy Lee Jones how he used to play Catch with his dad. Of course, since his dad was never around, he just threw the ball up against the wall.
Until now, if you wanted to play catch with a robot, your best bet was just bouncing it off a robot. Not so with Disney Research’s new robot that you can watch in the video.
As you can see, the robot is quite capable of catching a ball, provided it is thrown properly. If the robot misses, then it will shrug its shoulders, look behind/down, and other things a human does when it misses a catch.
It is pretty incredible technology, and it just requires a Kinect sensor to get it working. There is even the possibility for juggling.
Of course, why would anyone want to make a robot that can catch? Hey, this is Disney that we are talking about here. Who wants to make robots that we can only watch. No way, we want to interact with robots, just like in I, Robot, another Will Smith film. As I recall, a robot tosses Will Smith something at the end. Now we know where a robot learned to play throw and catch.