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Move Over Messi, Here Come the Robots

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Robots playing soccer.

Robots in the humanoid division compete during the RoboCup championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Credit: Toby Sterling/AP

RoboCup is a soccer tournament in which more than 1,000 soccer-playing robots from 40 countries compete against each other.

The tournament's ultimate goal is to defeat the human World Cup winners by 2050, creating technology along the way that will have applications beyond the realm of sports. To achieve that goal, the tournament organizers have created multiple competition classes, such as small robots, large robots, humanoid robots, and virtual robots, with plans to merge their techniques into one team of androids that can defeat the humans. In all of the divisions, there is no human interference allowed once the game starts except for substitutions, when humans are allowed to remove a bot that has broken down.

The bots use different kicks for passing and shooting, and they communicate their position to each other via wireless Internet connections. One method several teams are using in this year's competition is path planning, in which the ball is passed toward open space as a robot moves to intercept it.

Meanwhile, all contestants in the standard platform division use the same humanoid robot, made by Aldebaran Robotics, equipped with glowing eyes that change color to show emotion.

From Associated Press
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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