As the US men’s basketball team limped to a first Olympics loss since 2004, a robot gave them a lesson in elite-level shooting.
The six-foot-ten machine rolled onto the court during half-time of the US‘ defeat to France and started swishing jump shots like a red-hot Steph Curry.
Known as CUE, the droid was developed by Toyota engineers as a demonstration of machine learning.
The bot uses inbuilt sensors and 3D mapping to locate the basket. Algorithms then calculate the optimum trajectory for the balls. Finally, motors in CUE’s arms and legs generate the power and accuracy required to find the net.
In 2019, the device sank 2,020 shots in a row to set a new Guinness World Record for “Most consecutive basketball free throws by a humanoid robot (assisted).”
Since then, CUE has added range to its jumper. After swishing a free throw on the Olympics court, the device downed a three-pointer, and then nonchalantly knocked down a shot from the halfway line.
A basketball robot. For your pleasure. pic.twitter.com/5LZF2vpwNg
— Ann Killion (@annkillion) July 25, 2021
The machine still might need to work on its defense and speed before it makes the NBA. But as a pure shooter, it’s already surpassed the levels of Shaq and Ben Simmons.
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