Ping-Pong Robot Wins Guinness World Record

FORPHEUS is the world’s first robotic table tennis tutor.


Say “Hello” to FORPHEUS, your next ping pong coach. (Image courtesy of Omron).

Are you an only child, or just don’t have any friends? Are you tired of playing ping pong with a wall?

Well, perk up, because Japanese electronics company Omron has your back.

Meet FORPHEUS, the table tennis robot that not only plays with you, but also teaches you how to play better. You won’t find anything else like it – FORPHEUS has been officially certified with a Guinness World Record as the world’s “first robot table tennis tutor.” Who needs friends when you have that?

The Technology Behind FORPHEUS

FORPHEUS (Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonized aUtomation with Sinic Theoretics), in addition to having the world’s most contrived acronym, incorporates some impressive technology. Here’s what makes it work:

  • Cameras: FORPHEUS has two cameras on either side that work like human eyes to track the ball in three dimensions at up to 80 frames per second.
  • Prediction: These frames are used to calculate the ball’s velocity and rotation to precisely predict its course.
  • Control: Using this information, FORPHEUS’s machine controller brain figures out the timing and direction of its return swing with a precision of 1 millisecond.
  • Arm: The arm controlling the paddle is normally used for product packaging. It uses five-axis motors to set up the racket and hit the ball within a 0.1-millimeter precision.
  • Table: Even the table itself is high tech. It graphically indicates the direction in which FORPHEUS will return the ball for the benefit of the human opponent.

 Intrigued? Watch this video to see FORPHEUS in action:

While FORPHEUS is impressive in and of itself, Omron hopes to take the technology much further. The company envisions a world where people and machines live in harmony and in which machines aren’t merely co-operating with humans but actively assisting them in making decisions.

As explained in the video above, FORPHEUS technology could be implemented in factory robots that work alongside humans in an optimized division of labor.

You can learn more about FORPHEUS on Omron’s website. If you want more news about robots replacing people, check out the restless Russian Promobot.

Written by

Michael Alba

Michael is a senior editor at He covers computer hardware, design software, electronics, and more. Michael holds a degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Alberta.