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Volleyball Players in Japan Play With Robots to Improve Their Spiking Efficiency

Such block machines were designed to recreate the position of the arms of real volleyball players.

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In the world of professional women’s volleyball, one of the most competitive teams is that of Japan. The Japanese team is composed of tall, powerful, and skilled athletes honed by its coach – with the help of some towering robots at the net.

That’s right, their volleyball training involves robotic machines that help them with the tactics of opposing teams especially in blocks, making the players to become more successful with their attacks.

Source: Robert Pleizier’s YouTube

Developed by researchers at the Japanese Volleyball Association and the University of Tsukuba, the blockers are composed of three pairs of robotic arms that move side to side in front of the net.

Volleyball coaches can manipulate the movement of the robot arms depending on the blocking styles of the forthcoming opponents.

Source: Robert Pleizier’s YouTube

Such block machines were designed to recreate the position of the arms of real volleyball players. Moving at 3.7 meters per second, the robots can move even faster than their human counterparts so the Japanese volleyball players can be above the blocking skills of the opponent.

Six of the Japan women’s national team have practiced against the robot blockers over 8 days. Some of them said they felt little difference between playing against the machine and attacking in a real game.

Source: Robert Pleizier’s YouTube

“It is a very sophisticated device with positive feedback overall from players,” says Luca Paolo Ardigò at the University of Verona, Italy. It would be good to find out the impact the system could have on players’ performance over the course of a season, he says.

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Source: FIVB | New Scientist

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