This project featured the extraordinary match between Timo Boll, the German champion and ping-pong superstar, and the fastest KUKA robot so far: KR Agilus. The teaser was to promote the upcoming event, KUKA’s new production facility, which opened on 11 March 2014 in Shanghai, where the whole “match” was shown on the factory wall. The real match was planned like an open-ended feature film drama. The film focuses in on the match and the two opponents exclusively in slow-motion shots that create a sense of high tension. With the aid of engineers and the support of table tennis professionals, Agilus was programmed for all kind of moves in order to withstand the challenging match against Timo Boll, who is No. 5 in the world rankings. All angles, strategies and probabilities of the match moves were elaborated and anticipated in cooperation with Timo Boll and KUKA. The real match happened with very planned and precise moves of the Agilus robot and kept the illusion open until the end.
Statement by the Jury
“The Duel” surprises with two unequal table tennis opponents. Staged like an exciting movie, the minimal lighting and stage props allow the focus to be on the tight match between man and machine. Alternating between dynamic and tension-filled sequences, the film manages to compellingly convey the technical precision and perfection of this robot.