Robots often dot the landscape at the Consumer Electronics Show, and this year one bot is showing off its skills at beer pong. Empire Robotics‘ demonstration pits humans against its novel gripper robot, the Versaball. The bot is actually intended for manufacturing. But frat boys should take note: it is also quite skilled at throwing ping pong balls into plastic cups at the far end of a long table.
The robot easily picks up the ball using a balloon-like sphere filled with sub-millimeter particles. The shape of the Versaball easily conforms to any object, as the air is sucked out of the balloon and the particles jam together around the object. The bot can release the object simply by re-inflating the balloon.