A hoop-shooting Basketball Robot stole France’s glorious victory against Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 on Monday 25th July 2021 to showcase Japan’s robotics prowess.

The humanoid machine made a free throw and a three-pointer before drifting back to the half-court line and hitting a shot from there.

The name of the basketball-playing robot is Cue. The 6 feet 10 inches Robot was designed by Toyota. Toyota’s robot athlete, Cue, made its debut during the Tokyo Olympics, but it’s not the first time Toyota has shown off Cue.

A global transition in robotics usage from preprogrammed mechanical arms in constrained contexts like factories to working in the real world with people has been highlighted by efforts to construct human-shaped robots.

The first appearance of the Cue Robot had occurred in 2018 when it was 7 inches shorter than its current height. In 2018, it competed with Arvalq Tokyo, a team in Japan’s top basketball league, at making free throws. Also, Yudai Baba, a participant in the demonstration, missed a few shots. He said that if the robot could learn another few tricks, he would be happy to have the robot on the team.

A year later, it achieved a Guinness World Record by making 2,020 continuous free throws without missing any. The version of Cue that appeared at halftime on Sunday is a much-upgraded version of old versions, connected to platforms and other rigs that supported the robot and contained its mechanics.

During Sunday’s game, Toyota’s version of Cue was free-standing and able to maneuver itself about the court using wheels installed in its shoes. A set of sensors, 3D mapping technology, artificial intelligence, and algorithms are used by the Cue robot to figure out where the hoop is placed to align its shot. Then, it adjusts motor devices in its legs and arms to set the ideal angle and applies the right amount of power to make the shot.

After making three shots, the Cue Robot waved to the crowd during the halftime of the basketball match. The crowd went crazy seeing the Cue Robot playing basketball. Its shot was smooth like butter, said the team.

Aside from its popularity, the hoop-shooting robot has helped its creators understand how to develop robots that can effectively mimic human movement with several practical uses. Ultimately, such robots could be used to perform complex labor jobs that are mundane for humans to perform, such as picking crops, making deliveries, and working in factories.

Researchers claim the name Cue is a tribute to these practical implications, reflecting the idea that technology might be a cue or a sign of great things to come. Toyota has been experimenting on a number of robots, including one that can play the violin.

Toyota’s rival Honda has Asimo, the result of research into producing a walking robot that commenced in the 1980s. Besides being able to run, it can also recognize faces and barriers, shake hands, and pour drinks.