Next Big Thing – Robot Sportsmen

You have 20 seconds to come play...Don't be silly – everyone knows ED-209's Bambi legs would stop him climbing up the stairs to any good pool hall

You have 20 seconds to come play...Don't be silly – everyone knows ED-209's Bambi legs would stop him climbing up the stairs to any good pool hall. And if that visual-recognition system isn't reliable enough to see a man drop a gun, it won't help sink an 8-ball across a 9ft pool table.Well excuse me. What's this, then?Ah, yes, back to reality. The PR2 from Willow Garage is essentially an open-source robotics platform that developers can mould to various needs. And of course, foremost among those was to see it hustle some money out of Stanford scientists.Really?Well, no, getting it to play pool was a bit of fun. But it did pocket five balls in a recent demo – and that was after just a week of development time. The possibilities for this robot are endless. In a year's time, Ronnie O'Sullivan might as well retire, Phil "The Power" Taylor will have to hand over his darts crown and Kevin Pietersen may as well burn his bat. We might as well write off that whole curling thing as a robot-only event for the Winter Olympics.I'll believe that when I see itDon't take it from me – watch this video...