Cornell University engineers develop dart-throwing, basketball-shooting robot

Engineers from Cornell University have teamed up with the University of Chicago and managed to put their minds together to create a robotic creation that will forever serve manking – it can play darts with extreme precision no matter how long it's been in the bar. Actually, it's not even a full-flung robot. Right now it's just the arm, but its ability to spot targets and aim accordingly is remarkable.

The robotic arm can sense if an object, something as big as a basketball or as small as a dart, is in its grasp and if so, it will grab the object. At first, the hand creates a vaccum around the object so as not to lose its grip, but through engineering magic, once it gets ready to shoot, it pumps just a little bit of air back into the hand before the ball or dart is released.

The cross-school team explained the process by saying, "The typical approach for designing a universal robot gripper is to take inspiration from the human hand," however, "Our approach is a sharp deviation from the human-inspired approach, and it proves to be simple, low cost, and still highly capable." And while the neat proof of concept comes in being able to shoot hoops or darts, the engineers say the technology could be put to more practical use in such situations as manipulating an explosive device.