Developed by a team of Queen’s University egg-heads to play the round ball game, Deep Green is a gantry robot, mounted to the ceiling above the table, which uses a Global Vision System and a set of guide lights to figure out where all the balls are at any one moment and how to play each shot.
Deep Green’s arm and spherical wrist provide it with a full 3-degrees of freedom and the idea of it being ceiling mounted is that it won’t get in the human player’s way or have access to the bar between shots. Strictly speaking, I’m sure every shot is therefore illegal with it not having one foot flat on the ground or at least one servo anyway.
The Local Vision System camera on the front of the apparatus provides information relevant to each shot itself with regards to objects in the way of cueing, such as other balls, and Deep Green is able to use any level of power up to 3m/s of speed. Beyond that, there is another setting provided by the Pneumatic Break Cue Actuator, which unleashes a high pressure 12m/s welly for ball smashing breaks.
Deep Green is not the first cue wielding bot – there was an invention from Bristol University back in the late 80s – but it is the best and improving at an alarming rate. Being capable of pool, billiards and snooker, I’m looking forward to the 2011 finals at the Crucible with man verus machine, until Deep Green takes on Stephen Hendry that is.