Disney researchers used a theme park type animatronic humanoid robot to develop a test bed for a throwing and catching game scenario. An external camera system (ASUS Xtion PRO LIVE) was utilized to locate balls, and a Kalman filter, to predict ball destination and timing. Its hand and joint-space are calibrated to the vision coordinate system using a least-squares technique, such that the hand can be positioned to the predicted location. Continue reading for a video and more information.
They used an external camera system to track the balls and an algorithm to predict where and when the ball would fall. When the robot misses a catch, it looks back or down at where the ball fell, shrugs, or shakes its head. This guy was designed for theme parks, but one day it will be playing catch with our children and fetch with our dogs. Next they should program it to make dad jokes.