The first ever badminton playing robot has been created by researchers from Belgium, to test energy efficiency software.
Wim Symens and his team at the Flanders’ Mechatronics Technology Centre created the device, the first of its kind, as a guinea pig to test a software application designed to optimise energy efficiency in machine design.
A new computer program, arising from the EU funded research project ESTOMAD, is capable of detecting the energy guzzlers in so-called mechatronic systems that are controlled by both software and electronics.
Following an energy efficiency analysis of the badminton robot with the new software, the team made small changes to areas where energy was identified as being wasted in the robotic system.
“We were able to cut down the energy consumption of the badminton robot by 50%!” claims Mr Symens.
In the future, engineers could use the software for machines even before they are built.
According to Tom Boermans of engineering consultancy LMS International, one of the partners in the project, performing a virtual analysis at an early stage, could provide an important competitive advantage to industry.
“A virtual approach is always a preferred one. You can even simulate strange conditions; very fast or very high temperatures. In real life those tests are very expensive!” he said.