RoboCup Soccer Makes a Different Kind of Robotics “Goal”
We hear a lot about potentially life-saving research in rescue and service robots, but if you're interested in the recreational side of robotics, you should keep a close eye on this year's RoboCup.
The world championship series for intelligent robotics will be held in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, from June 26-30. This RoboCup series expects to see around 2,500 contestants from close to 40 different countries.
Of course, there will be many impressive rescue robots and service robots, but if entertainment is what you're after, you can catch dancing, and even soccer-playing robots as well.
Among the primary attractions, RoboCup features a variety of soccer leagues, complete with bipedal, ball-kicking robots. The Middle Size League, what some consider to be the most exciting league, features robots reaching table height who play without any type of human control. Five of these robots play in a fast-paced and tactical game until a victor emerges. The current world champion in this league is Eindhoven University of Technology.
There are even leagues in RoboCup that are completely virtual. Known as “Simulation Leagues,” these leagues are played by computers against one another. There is another league, known as the Standard Platform League, in which participants all use the same robots but are allowed to program them differently. The programming alone is what makes the difference in the game.
Soccer isn’t the only activity at RoboCup. On the practical end, there is a home competition where service robots compete to carry out everyday household tasks. These tasks could include something like taking drink orders from humans and then carrying them out. The robots must be able to understand commands but also follow people and pick out the right drink from amongst many.
There is even a RoboCup Rescue League focused on rescuing humans in disaster situations. In a simulated disaster area, the robots must be able to locate victims and assess their injuries, all while checking the surrounding areas and reporting what they find.
The main goal of RoboCup is to help speed the development of robot technology. The day after competition, the researchers gather together and share all of their new knowledge.
Some words of advice for the human soccer world champions: Watch out. By 2050, RoboCup aims to take them down with their own team of soccer playing robots.
Full story at Scientific Computing