back to article When androids dream of baseball fields

To our American cousins, it's a manly sport called baseball. But here in old Blighty, much the same game - rounders - is played mainly by schoolgirls. Whereas in Japan, it's played by robots. A team at the Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory at the University of Tokyo are developing machines which can perform all the same tasks as a …

  1. Dcope

    Not sure playing rounders is required....

    But there's definitely a market for a robot Japanese schoolgirl, or so my travels round the net these many years has shown me many many times.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Alert

      Re: Not sure playing rounders is required....

      Yebbut I don't think they'd want one of those machines in a short skirt and white panties...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not sure playing rounders is required....

        On the other hand you have to congratulate the Americans for making girls sports so popular. Not many people in the rest of the world will watch rounders or netball but I hear they're both very popular in the US.

  2. Ralph B

    It's only a matter of time ...

    ... before all your base are belong to us.

  3. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    whew! Dodged one there!

    Good thing the Japanese fancy baseball rather than Cricket. Might have got serious there!

    Wait. Did you just say "WHOP"?

    1. Isendel Steel

      Re: whew! Dodged one there!

      hmmm - somebody else's problem, did you see the chesterfield though ?

  4. The last doughnut
    Terminator

    If they can make a robot actually throw a ball they have already beaten the girls. Sorry girls. Have a beer?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Osgard Leach

    I don't think the little fella with the baseball bat is going to take kindly to any humans getting between him and the robot Japanese schoolgirl. World domination is for a reason.

  6. Bob Wheeler
    Joke

    The will never be able to take on Tiddley Winks :)

  7. Haku
    Coat

    Do robots have brothers?

    No, they have transistors.

  8. PaulR79

    Pointless?

    Is there a point of having a Robot Baseball team? If the pitcher can throw the ball anywhere it wants but the batter can hit it anywhere in the strike zone and aim it anywhere it wants is there even a point to having a fielder? Nobody will be struck out and the 1st innings will never end as it will be permanent home run things.

    tl;dr If the robots are so good will the game ever end?

    Last thought - can the robots spit like 'pros' do? That's where the real skill is apparently.

    1. Jagged

      Re: Pointless?

      Never ending rounders/baseball? That's one way of preventing the robopocalypse

    2. ridley

      Re: Pointless?

      Ever heard of blurnball?

    3. lotus49

      Re: Pointless?

      You missed one of the two key skills of baseball players. Yes, they need to spit but they also need to scratch their balls.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    This is useful!!

    With Japan's population nearing decline, they need to free up existing real schoolgirls from their baseball duties so the girls can develop emotional bonds to help soothe and humanize Godzilla/Gamera/Mothra/other Japanese megafauna!!

  10. heyrick Silver badge
    Happy

    Impressive stuff (I liked it being able to hit the ball into a basket), but that only resembles a schoolgirl in the sense of the Terminator's post-apocalyptic nightmare world. Still, put these mechanics into the DER2 Actroid (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3tcSlWLS_g) and then we'll be getting somewhere interesting!

    Edit: this as well - http://youtu.be/V7TKBFJMbi0

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This clip from "The Untouchables" suggests a more RotM use for such skills

    <a href="m.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy3MtznDeqg>m.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy3MtznDeqg</a>

    Of course the Japanese schoolgirlbot will swing even harder while simultaneously making a deferential giggle and blushing

    1. Clamps Silver badge

      i presume thats the scene where some ones brains are bashed out on a table? i wont watch it again thanks

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the flip side

    Put one of those new teraflop CPU modules in it and it might be about as smart as your average denizen of /b.

    As least basic language skills can be achieved using just 10W and significant improvements have been made on low power cameras.

    Just a thought but maybe this is why the "Terminator" eyes glow? infrared emission from the Kinect v3.0 headsets so it can see in three dimensions properly?

  13. jpb421

    baseball/base ball vs rounders

    I'd always thought of baseball as being American and rounders British (albeit with different rules) but then I noticed that "base ball" is listed as one of Catherine Morland's sporting interests in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey which, though it wasn't published until 1818, was one of the first novels she wrote so the game must have been in common use in the 18th century in England.

    Nothing to do with robots of course, though given Pride and Prejudice has been given the zombie treatment perhaps it is time that Northanger Abbey was given a Terminator variant!

    1. lotus49

      Re: baseball/base ball vs rounders

      Despite American claims that baseball is a uniquely American invention, it isn't.

      Cricket, rounders and baseball are very closely related games. One curious fact is that the first international baseball game played between Great Britain (as it was at the time) and the US was won by the British but the first cricket game between the two was won by the US.

      I know a lot of people outside the US, particularly in England, like to criticise baseball, but I love baseball and cricket and I think any cricket fan who took the time to understand baseball would enjoy it too.

  14. Martin Budden Bronze badge
    Meh

    Combining them all into one robot seems feasible.

    Powering it is another matter entirely.

    1. Shrimpling

      Electrify the floor and have them draw power from that, solves any pesky battery problems.

      It would make it interesting if they were going to play humans vs robots, it would possibly make it watchable.

  15. Tempest8008

    With respect...

    I want to see how the batting robot reacts to a 100mph fastball.

    I want the catching robot to catch a bouncing ground ball.

    It can run, but can it slide?

    And finally, that tracking robot...I'd want to see what it does in variable lighting, in the rain, in the snow, and in all the other conditions baseball players face.

    Heck, that last point is valid for all of the above.

  16. Zangetsu

    i can tell you that this is not a schoolgirl at all.

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