Connect with us


Georgia Tech Researchers Develop Robot Wheelchair That Plays Tennis

Meet ESTHER: The Experimental Sport Tennis Wheelchair Robot

A team of researchers at Georgia Tech’s College of Computing has developed a wheelchair-based robot designed to play tennis. Led by Assistant Professor of Interactive Computing Dr. Matthew Gombolay, the team named the robot ESTHER (Experimental Sport Tennis Wheelchair Robot) after Dutch wheelchair tennis world champion Esther Vergeer.

How It Works

ESTHER is built around a motorized version of a wheelchair specifically designed for playing wheelchair tennis. It features a racket-holding robotic arm in its seat and uses optical-tracking technology to determine its position on the court. The robot can then meet the ball with its racket at the predicted intercept point in the ball’s trajectory.

Current Abilities

Currently, ESTHER is able to hit balls launched by a machine and has already started learning how to play against human players. This puts it ahead of hitting human players, which is a big win for the researchers.

Future Potential

The researchers have high hopes for ESTHER's future. They believe it could eventually volley against human opponents and potentially be used as a training tool. Imagine being able to practice your tennis skills against a robot wheelchair player!

On a more personal note, I have my own hopes for ESTHER. Maybe it could be trained to hit objects that kids throw at me when they're playing in front of my house. Those kids have quite the aim, let me tell you.

Continue Reading