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Move over Messi, here come the robots

Posted on July 1, 2013
In this photo taken Thursday, June 27, 2013, a robot from the University of Bonn dribbles around a Japanese competitor at the RoboCup championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Around 300 teams from 40 countries are competing this week at the RoboCup. The competition has the long-term goal of building a team of androids good enough to beat the human world cup team by 2050. (AP Photo/Toby Sterling)

In this photo taken Thursday, June 27, 2013, a robot from the University of Bonn dribbles around a Japanese competitor at the RoboCup championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Around 300 teams from 40 countries are competing this week at the RoboCup. The competition has the long-term goal of building a team of androids good enough to beat the human world cup team by 2050. (AP Photo/Toby Sterling)

With the score tied 1-1, it’s gone to a penalty shootout in a tense soccer match between teams from Israel and Australia. As the Australian goalkeeper in his red jersey braces for the shot, the Israeli striker pauses. Then he breaks into a dance instead of kicking the ball. Perhaps he can be forgiven: He’s a robot, after all.

 

Welcome to the RoboCup, where more than a thousand soccer-playing robots from forty countries have descended on the Dutch technology Mecca of Eindhoven this week with one goal in mind: beat the humans.

Eventually.

The tournament’s mission is to defeat the human World Cup winners by 2050—creating technology along the way that will have applications far beyond the realm of sport.

To achieve the goal, organizers have created multiple competition classes—including small robots, large robots, humanoid robots and even virtual robots —with plans to merge their techniques into a single squad of all-star androids capable of one day winning a man vs. machine matchup.

For now, Lionel Messi doesn’t need to look over his shoulder. Humanoid robots have difficulty keeping their balance, and the largest—human height—move more like, well, robots than world-class athletes.

“To be honest, I think a 3-year-old could win against any of the humanoid teams,” says Marcell Missura of the University of Bonn, whose NimbRO team won the “teen” humanoid class in Mexico City last year.

Read more at: Phys.org

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