Amicus Butterfly robot is the most well-known table tennis robot. Another good model to consider is the PowerPong Omega. So today, let’s review these 2 brands of robots. I want also to present the newly released robot from China, which is considered the best robot at this moment.
Do you need a table tennis robot?
∎ Page Contents ∎
Welcome back to PingSunday. Nowadays, playing with a robot is not new. In many table tennis clubs, I found that a good table tennis robot is a must. If there are so many players in a club, and your coach doesn’t have enough time, then practicing with a robot is very useful.
If you have money, you can also buy a good table tennis robot at home. And practice with a robot by doing the multiball is one the best way to improve fast in table tennis.
You know what, in general, to master the new techniques, you should repeat them several times. The rule of thumb is, you can learn new skills with 10 000 h of practicing. But don’t worry, you can improve faster with the right coaching and practice conditions.
Playing with a robot has many advantages:
- Training every time, without asking for a partner, or a coach. You can train in the evening, early in the morning, during the weekend, or on a holiday. So having a good robot is like having the best table tennis friend.
- Nowadays, the robot is very intelligent. It can feed the ball almost like a good table tennis coach.
- Much cheaper than hiring a coach. For example, in France, you should pay around 15 Euro – 30 Euro/h to have a personal table tennis coach.
Can you become a high-level player without a ball machine?
In certain countries and few places in the U.S., it’s possible assuming you’re in a training program 4-6 hours/day. The majority of U.S. players don’t have that opportunity and don’t have a dedicated training partner either for that many hours, so again ball machine robot training is an excellent option.
Alex has asked me.
I have a question, if you started playing at 10 years old, how much would you need to train per week to become a professional, and also what are your thoughts on robots?
So, to become a pro table tennis player, you need to train daily. And having a good table tennis robot is indispensable.
Sachin said, “During these days, I’m playing with a robot to improve skills”.
3 types of table tennis robots
What is the most intelligent robot that you can buy in table tennis? Today, we will talk about the 3 types of table tennis robots. And finally, I introduce the best table tennis training tool on the market right now.
So today I will explain the 3 types of robots that you could consider buying:
1) The commercial robot with ball thrower that you can buy
2) AI robot for research that is not public commercial
3) New generation commercial robot with a hand like a real coach
Butterfly Amicus robot and PowerPong robot are the best 2 commercials table tennis robots.
1) Commercial Robot that you can buy
There are some commercial robots from table tennis brands. They are available on the market many years ago. Here is some famous one:
Amicus Butterfly robot
Amicus Butterfly robot (“Advance” + “Professional”) can do serves and complex rallies. It is a lightweight robot and easy to transport.
The new Amicus and many other “robots” can simulate serves that bounce on both sides of the table. Some players produce variable serves that look similar to the same action even when they land in the same place.
The new Amicus hardware is capable of being a very good serving machine. Some robots have had people rewire them to take instructions from mobile phones and other computers. Butterfly Table Tennis could program in hundreds of different serves that come from one “random serve” button.
There are some noises from wheels and motors spinning as the ball is launched. If the motors were to be made a quieter it could be much better. The overall noise level could be about the same as playing against a human player.
The new AMICUS table tennis robot from Butterfly – 3 models are available: START, EXPERT, and PRIME
Start model: (buy online/ check price/ read review) $1,234.99
$1,299.99 Save $65.00 (5%)
Expert model: (buy online/ check price/ read review) $1,646.49
$1,849.99 Save $203.50 (11%)
Prime model: (buy online/ check price/ read review) $1,869.99
$2,199.00 Save $329.01 (15%) Butterfly Amicus Prime with 120 Free Balls
For Amicus start, it’s limited functionality but the price difference is more than half of another robot (800 Euro difference versus the Prime model). I recommend the Start model should be fine for amateur players.
PowerPong – A good alternative to Butterfly Robots
Another good alternating is the Newgy Robo-Pong 2055 (read review) which is cheaper (around $899
$1,299.00 Save $400.00). However, these models have been discontinued. Another upgraded version is the Power Pong Omega – Tablet Edition (read review).
The Power Pong Omega – Tablet Edition (read review) is a three-wheeled robot that can be controlled with the included Android tablet or your own smartphone (iPhone, iPad, or Android). The Omega Control Box version and the Power Pong 5000 both come with a control panel but no tablet.
The primary differences between this robot and the Power Pong 5000 are the upgraded electronics (the wireless connection is now in the base unit) and the tablet instead of the control box.
The best Butterfly robot is Amicus Prime
The serve function is only for the Prime model. If you like training with the Serve function, you should buy the Prime and Professional models. What this function does is to add a short delay before the first ball to replicate the short delay in a real game where the receiver is waiting for the server to begin the serve.
You can also control it with your voice. This is the top model (Amicus Prime) of Butterfly’s robots. With prime, you get an android tablet and a small controller with which you control the robot.
With the start, expert models you only get one big controller without the tablet. You can get a butterfly application that you can also install on any other android device. The performance is great as you can see in the video.
If you want to buy the Butterfly Amicus robot, go to the official website of Butterfly: butterfly.tt/amicus
If you have any technical question related to the robot, you can contact to: amicus[at]butterfly.tt
The only problem is that Butterfly Amicus has a really strong spin. So you need to learn to control the spin parameter correctly.
Wow, that max spin is inhuman.
Yes, I know, but don’t worry. You can easily reduce the spin, and perform several skills.
I will show you how to fix it with the later robot.
Power Pong Robot
Another option you could consider is Power Pong Robot.
Power Pong is the brainchild of USATT Hall of Famer Attila Malek – a former professional table tennis player in Hungary who moved to the US in 1978. He was part of the US National Team during the 1980s and now works as a professional table tennis coach based in Costa Mesa, California.
Power Pong robots are exported from Hungary by USATT Certified National coach, Attila Malek. And all Power Pong robots come with a three-year warranty to accompany their three-wheel design.
By the way coach, coach Attila Malek’s daughter is a high-level player playing with a training partner, but she also the ball machine daily.
So if you want to improve fast, I think that you need a table tennis robot. This will help you train every day.
Where to buy Power Pong?
The price is from 1300 USD to 1800 USD (check price). So, it’s a high-range product. And all Power Pong robots come with a three-year warranty. It honestly is the best table tennis robot money can buy and will give you an experience that’s very close to playing with a human training partner. The link is in the description below.
Power Pong 5000 – $1,849
$2,199.00 Save $350.00 (16%) (read review)
Power Pong 3001 – $1,649
$1,849.00 Save $200.00 (11%) (read review)
Power Pong 2001 – $1,299
$1,499.00 Save $200.00 (13%) (read review)
By the way, this is the same machine as the Amicus Professional.
Contact me and I can send you a coupon code to save $100 at checkout. It’s a coupon code, so I can not give it public on this video here. The number is limit.
A.I. robot for research or demonstration
So I’ve shown you 2 examples of good table tennis robots that you can buy. Of course, there are also other good robots. But we don’t have enough time to review all of it.
The second type of robot is the A.I. robot for research or demonstration. To my knowledge, I don’t think these types of robots are available for the players. Maybe, it could be very expensive, or maybe it is so sophisticated and only used for robotic research.
As far as I know, that I can find 2 table tennis robots: KUKA robot, and Omron robot.
For example, the researcher Jonas Tebbe at the University of Tübingen, Germany has developed a table tennis robot system using a KUKA AGILUS robot. The robot can return the ball consistently and play a rally with a human lasting up to 50 strokes.
A high-speed vision system was set up to identify a table tennis ball in the scene and infer its 3D position. Its 3D position is estimated by triangulation using the ball’s pixel coordinates in both camera frames.
I think this type of robot is very sophisticated and expensive, so not many players can buy it.
Another AI robot is the Omron robot.
I don’t have the information about the price of these robots, but in my opinion, it could be higher than 20 000 USD.
New generation robot with an arm
I have excellent news for you, that you can buy a new generation AI robot. The price is completely affordable. Can a robot replace a real partner?
A player said:
I consider and not just me that human partner would be the best option regardless of how good this machine is.
You are right. Training with a real partner is the best option. Have the coach’s advice, and having fun with real people is the best. But not many players have this opportunity.
But I want to say if you have played table tennis for more than 20 years then you will understand. We want to improve as fast as possible.
The key to success is to use every tool possible.
Return board vs Robot, which one is better?
If you don’t have money, you can try to train with a returning board.
The problem is in a club without coaches or the right equipment you don’t have all these tools.
There are a lot of things you need in table tennis. Speed, technique, anticipation, automatism.
With this precision, a lot of situations become automatism. To find a good partner to do this isn’t always easy.
There is no positive effect if he or she isn’t able to return more than 2 times in a row.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice with partners. Of course, you should and the best way is to play against partners with different playing styles. If you only practice against attackers all the time. Then you weren’t able to play against defensive players.
So my advice is having a good partner is better.
But you should use every available tool or option to improve, it is the best option: training with the robot, and with a real player is the best choice.
Pangbot M-One Robot
Don’t worry. So today, I have good news for you. I want to present a High-tech robot. It’s called “Pangbot M-One”.
Pangbot M-ONE -a robot that serves with a racket and adjusts the speed and spin of the ball according to a player’s level. (Reference: Gao Erqiang and ChinaDaily)
This robot is developed with artificial intelligence by the Shanghai university researcher.
M-ONE also produces and analyzes data on the returns a player hits to help improve performance.
It’s the world’s first mass-produced table tennis robot that uses mechanical arms to serve with a racket. Codeveloped by China Table Tennis College of Shanghai University of Sport and SIASUN Robot &Automation Co Ltd, the device was officially launched at the end of March 2020.
I’ve also promoted the summer training camp at Shanghai China Table Tennis College. This year, the training camp is canceled due to the virus. But when you apply for the scholarship next year, maybe you will train this new M-ONE robot.
The China Table Tennis College established its AI research center in 2015 to manufacture a mechanical arm that can be used as a training partner within two years.
Table tennis coach at the Shanghai University of Sport is practice with the Pangbot M-ONE.
The new M-ONE not only operates in a more human-like way than other robots.
With one arm used for throwing and the other for striking the ball with a racket, the robot can play in different modes, varying the speed of the serve, it’s spin and the positions it hits the table, controlled by a mobile app.
Therefore, the device can meet the needs of different levels of players with a personalized training program. It can also be used to analyze a player’s movement and where shots are landing to rate performance and generate data-based feedback.
How much does it cost?
The researcher is trying to cut the retail price.
It sounds cool. How much does it cost?
To date, around 60 robots have been manufactured, with selling prices ranging from $4000 to 5000). A hundred units will be produced by the end of this month.
I think that the price will be reduced to an affordable price. To know where to buy this wonderful robot. I will update my blog pingsunday about this news. Search “pingsunday table tennis robot” to know more.
“It could replace part of the manpower soon and will be mainly used in multi-ball training sessions to greatly improve efficiency,”
The team responsible for developing the robot will be looking to make it cheaper and more intelligent by adding extra functions to help players improve their game.
I believe that the M-ONE might eventually become a significant training tool for the pros.
A player also asked me:
“Can I use a robot as a substitution for my girlfriend?”
Oh my god. For me, as a man, we need both.
I would say No if you have a wonderful girlfriend. And yes, if you love table tennis.
Just kidding, see you in the next PingSunday video. And have fun and enjoy this weekend with your family.
©PINGSUNDAY. Unauthorized use, translation or duplication of this material is strictly prohibited. Link and excerpt may be used, provided that clear credit is given to PingSunday with the specific link to the original content.
Sign up and join +65k readers. Get free coaching ebooks and coaching advice every week