Here is a robot that was developed by Japanese researchers at Chiba University’s Namiki Lab that plays air hockey and changes its strategy based on its human opponent’s playing style.
This is not the first air-hockey robot, but a demonstration can be seen here:
The robot has a Barrett four-axis robotic arm, two cameras, and an external PC. The team had previously paired a vision system with a robotic hand to juggle and fold towels, but this robot tracks the puck and opponent’s paddle, according to the IEEE Spectrum article. Data gathered from the camera are processed by the PC to determine the robot’s next move.
The robot tracks the game at a rate of 500fps. To keep the game interesting, researchers programmed the air-hockey robot with a system for motion control, short-term strategy (hitting the puck, defending a shot, staying still) and long-term strategy in which the robot observes the speed and position of the player’s paddle in relation to the puck and estimates whether the opponent is playing aggressively or defensively.
A series of experiments determined the robot was successful in detecting playing behaviors, forcing players to change strategies. By adapting to the opponents style, it adds a psychological component to the match.
So the robot can not only outplay me, but it can also outthink me (to a certain extent, I think).