The future when mankind and machines are reconciled

Omron Industrial Automation at Hannover Messe 2017, Hall 9, booth F24

Hoofddorp (NL), 24-04-2017 - To showcase Omron’s advanced technologies, the 3rd generation of FORPHEUS is featured at the Hannover Messe 2017. The friendly and smart table tennis collaborative robot has become a whole lot smarter since last year. Omron has given FORPHEUS the ability to interpret, predict, learn, think, act, connect and communicate with humans. Seven amazing technologies that make it possible for FORPHEUS to actually tutor humans.

The 3rd generation of our table tennis tutor robot encompasses state-of-the-art technology that embodies the world of 'harmony' where machines can bring out the best in human ability. FORPHEUS is an acronym for 'Future Omron Robotics technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonized aUtomation with Sinic theoretics'. A coined term embodying Omron's robot technologies based on the unique 'SINIC' future prediction of our founder. It is also a combination of "For" and "ORPHEUS (a bard in Greek mythology as a symbol of human creativity)", representing Omron’s attitude of bringing out human creativity and possibility.

Bringing out the best in humans means that tutor FORPHEUS does not play table tennis against, but with people and helps them to improve their game. Just like our leading technologies can help bring out the best in people in automated workplaces. Imagine that employees can be recognized and that instructions are tailored to their skill and experience level by automation; combining the best of both humans and machines in manufacturing. FORPEUS demonstrates such Omron owned core technologies and enables visitors of the Hannover Messe to experience today the leading technology of tomorrow by playing the fastest reaction sport on earth with our cobot.

Omron assumes three stages, from the past to the future, in a relationship between humans and machines. The 1st stage is one of 'replacement' by machines of tasks that need not be done by humans. The Omron past mirrors this history, as we introduced factory automation, automated ticket gates, and other inventions. The 2nd stage is 'collaboration' between humans and machines, which is currently progressing in the world. An example of this is a production line where humans and robots work together, each performing the most suitable task to increase productivity. Another example is the Omron collision-prevention technology that supports our vision of a collision-free mobile society.

Nowadays the relationship is reaching the 3rd stage, 'harmony' between humans and machines, that extends human capabilities. As machines become a more integral part of society, humans will enjoy machine support in a number of new and different ways that will extend the potential of humans. As with FORPHEUS, machines will emerge in every domain that can bring out the best in human capabilities and possibilities.

FORPHEUS keeps evolving with the state-of-the-art technologies as a symbol of a relationship between mankind and machines in the future, but how does it work? Table tennis tutor FORPHEUS embodies our Sensing & Control + Think technology, incorporating human knowledge. It combines seven amazing technologies. The ability to interpret, predict, learn, think, act, connect and communicate with humans.

FORPEUS features deep learning technology. We have trained the artificial intelligence with countless hours of table tennis play conducted by players of all different levels. This way FORPEUS literally learned how to anticipate better to the path of a ball, the skill level of a player, and swing of a racket. The result is that FORPHEUS can think how to personalize a rally in real time, based on constantly accumulated data, to the person on the other side of the net and adjust the method of returning the ball.

Three eyes capture the ball in 3D. FORPHEUS is able to handle fast, complex movements, predicting where the ball goes with 80 calculations per second. It calculates the orbit at the moment the player hits the ball (red orbit) and moves the racket to an easy-to-hit position on the orbit to return the ball. Furthermore, it calculates the orbit of the ball that FORPHEUS itself hits (blue orbit) and calculates the speed and place of returning the ball by hitting an arched ball for a beginner so that the player can easily hit it.

To act FORPHEUS moves an arm at high speed by receiving commands from the brain. The arm is actually a 'parallel link robot', an industrial robot used for packing products. A motor with five shafts moves to swing the racket upon receiving the command from the brain. It controls the arm that receives the command in 0.1 mm units, holds the racket and hits the ball. FORPHEUS controls the swing timing and direction of its racket in 1/1000 second units. The error of returning the ball is only ±5 cm. The Omron NJ Series, that is used as a controller, is applied in manufacturing to operate production facilities.

Vision sensors also detect facial attributes, so FORPHEUS can recognize a person, the emotions during play and, together with the skill level, interpret these variables. FORPHEUS calculates the degree of harmony (synchronization rate) based on the smile of the player, the degree of growth through the rally, and the stress placed on FORPHEUS. Numerical values show how much a player enjoyed the rally and how much the machine has become intimate with the person in an effort to truly connect. The net on the table also functions as a display so FORPEUS can communicate. This inspires the motivation of a player and promotes the person's growth by conveying intentions of FORPHEUS and showing understanding to the player.


The Omron Experience
Visit Omron Industrial Automation at the Hannover Messe, 24 - 28 April, to play against FORPHEUS and experience our integrated, intelligent and interactive automation technologies in Hall 9, booth F24. Our experts will answer all questions and our demonstrations will run continuously. Four great demo's, including a world première and a collaborative robot with our innovative Omron signature. A signature that again has earned Omron a place in the Top 100 Global Innovators according to Clarivate Analytics. Innovation by automation enabling innovation in manufacturing.

Reader enquiries

Omron Europe B.V.
Wegalaan 67-69
2132 JD Hoofddorp
+31 (0)23 568 13 00

Notes for editors

About Omron
Omron Corporation is a leading industrial automation company that leverages its core sensing & control technologies to expand into businesses, such as control components, electronic components, automotive electronic components, social infrastructure, healthcare, and the environment. Omron was established in 1933, and has around 38,000 global employees, offering products and services in over 110 nations and regions. In the industrial automation business, Omron is contributing to making an affluent society by offering automation technologies which drive innovation in manufacturing as well as products and customer support. For more detail,

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The future when mankind and machines are reconciled.


Editorial enquiries

Marion Beekhuizen

+31 (0)6 1133 7151

Diane van der Sanden

+31 (0)6 2943 6751

Anouk Luykx

+31 164 317 017




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