Is an all-out Cyber Olympics on the horizon?
Well, it's possible in the near future, especially after Jae-Eun Park and IBM Research recently unveiled its table-tennis playing IRIS+ drone.
From this video alone, you're able to see how the drone is able to track the trajectory of a ping pong ball being spouted out of a machine, acting on the fly — pardon the pun — to hit it back to its mechanical sender.
As impressive of a sight it is to see, a mere glance will tell you that it's still very much in its developing stages. A wire of some sort is seen acting like a pulley, attached to the back of the hovering drone and providing it just enough slack to move forward and return the ping pong ball.
Presumably used to help the IRIS+ drone move easier, it will be interesting to see if the minds at IBM could advance the drone to the point where it doesn't require the wire at all.
If this short clip is any indication, it shouldn't be put past them at all. After all, they did teach a drone how to play table tennis ... and from the looks of it, better than most people.