At the International Bowling Campus, a United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Equipment Specifications and Certification team member competed against USBC spokesperson and Professional Bowlers Association star Chris Barnes in an epic battle of man versus machine. Did you know how Chris Barnes beat his robot opponent?
Chris Barnes, a professional bowler, once defeated a robot that is optimized to throw strikes.
The Robot Bowler
The Enhanced Automated Robotic Launcher (EARL) was designed to be able to simulate any type of bowling style consistently. It is said to be incredibly accurate that no human bowler can compete with it.
Before EARL was developed, Harry was introduced in 1999. It was USBC’s first robot which was recently retired after more than a decade of research.
While Harry was quite unique, EARL had more automated features and could throw the ball left-handed or right-handed. It can also duplicate shot after shot with consistent ball speeds from 10 to 24 miles per hour. (Source: Bowl)
Man versus Machine: The Bowling Edition
Chris Barnes won a one-game match at the International Training and Research Center (ITRC) in Arlington, Texas, 259-209. Still, he knows the score does not reflect how vital EARL will eventually be in industry research.
EARL has more abilities than any of the robots I’ve seen before, and to have something to use for testing that is as precise and dependable is very important for the future of the sport. I am a fan of technology, and I’m really intrigued by what EARL can do. Today was a lot of fun, and I’m sure when they have some more time to work with it, it will only get better. I’m not sure I want a rematch in six months.Chris Barnes, Professional Bowler
By pairing the robot and the ITRC’s computerized ball-tracking program, a computer sensor system gives the USBC an advantage in tracking and measuring ball motion.
I think we showcased the research side of the ITRC really well today, and this is the start of a whole new era of learning. We’ve been waiting a long time for EARL. to be ready, and now we can truly delve into various research projects. EARL will be an excellent resource for us and the bowling industry as a whole.Neil Stremmel, USBC Managing Director-National Governing Body
Melissa Stewart of Roswell, Georgia, a USBC Junior Gold youth bowler named EARL. She reasoned that if Earl Anthony’s nickname was The Machine, it was only appropriate to name the new ball-throwing robot after a bowler with machine-like characteristics.
The ITRC, a United States Olympic Committee-recognized training center, is a joint venture of the USBC and the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America. It is the most innovative and advanced training, research, and testing facility in the sport of bowling. The center has 14 training lanes and six research and testing lanes.
I’m not sure I want a rematch in six monthsChris Barnes, Professional Bowler
Image from Play-Bowling