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ROBOTICS





unsupported on its own two feet. Yet there was more: while CUE had only taken shots within the free-throw area, CUE2 was able to stand outside the three-point line. According to one of the team members, the longer the shot


distance, the greater the influence of small errors in movement: CUE2 is unable to score if the shot motion errs by even a single degree. In order to eliminate the foot stand that had characterised CUE,


motors were made smaller and located inside CUE2’s body. Also, to enable CUE2 to throw the ball further, motor output was increased. Such challenges proved difficult to overcome and the robot wasn’t fully ready when it was unveiled in November 2018, when it managed to score twice in a row but failed when moved further from the ring. Other Toyota robot teams were drafted in and provided advice


to the CUE development team as well as providing expertise in building circuit boards, creating the wiring which extended to 600 meters in totaland producing the resin that would be used for CUE’s external appearance. The co-operative efforts resulted in CUE3 being unveiled five


months later in April 2019. Tasked once more with scoring goals at the Alvark Tokyo stadium, CUE3 initially failed. Then the team placed the robot at a seemingly impossible long distance away


14 /// Testing & Test Houses /// April 2020


from the basket, from where CUE3 entered its shooting stance and released its long throw. The ball described a beautiful arc before landing flush in the basket and thereby guaranteeing extended life to the project.


RECORD BREAKER With the sudden leap in the robot’s abilities, Toyota began to make sure that everyone knew about the success of its engineers and as a result it soon drew attention from those outside the world of manufacturing, robotics and even basketball. Guinness World Records saw the potential and set the team a


challenge. To enter the record books, the robot would have to score at least five consecutive throws at the basketball net. For a humanoid robot to throw a basketball, a number of


technological problems must be overcome. For example, the trajectory of the ball changes according to how it is placed in and how it leaves the robot’s hand; the force of each throw results in minor changes to the robot’s position; and, even when attempting to throw an identical shot, the supply current and power can change. By facing up to each of these problems and implementing


improvements, the team set about modifying CUE3 with the capability, technology and endurance to score more than 1,000 consecutive shots.


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