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Tosser bot: Dog's best friend?

iFling is a unique highly agile radio controlled segway like vehicle design by the Coordinated Robotics Lab at UCSD.

A scalable, ball-tossing robot that's reminiscent of a Segway with an independent streak could become your pet dog's new best friend.

In its current version, the robot, called iFling, rolls over ping-pong balls, traps them between its wheel and body, and rotates them into its carriage. To toss, the ball rolls out onto the arm and the iFling uses its inertia to go from a lying down to upright mode, "resulting in an effective toss," the video narrator explains.


While definitely a cool demonstration of what the robotics researchers at the University of California, San Diego, are up to, what's the point of ball-tossing robots? According UCSD, the technology could be automated so that multiple bots could play catch with each other, perhaps giving us another sport to watch on weekend afternoons.

Other potential uses include replacements for ball boys at tennis matches or outfielders in MLB, or even "a safe way to quickly pick up a live grenade and toss it back at an enemy in the heat of battle," notes Gizmodo.

One might even find use picking up errant balls smacked by these ping-pong playing robots in China.

Alternatively, iFling, which can be scaled up to toss different sized balls including tennis balls, could play catch with your dog. Whether Jerry, the YouTube star dachshund who plays ball with this machine, would find iFling an improvement is unknown.

[Via Gizmodo]

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John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. To learn more about him, check out his website. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.

 

 

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