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Robocup 2010: Could Robot Versus Human Be Far Behind?

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Aldebaran Robotics' Nao humanoid robot

RoboCup 2010 pits bots of various shapes and sizes against one another on the soccer field. In the Standard Platform League, all participants use Nao mini-humanoid robots, shown here, made by French robotics company Aldebaran Robotics.

Credit: Aldebaran Robotics

At RoboCup 2010 in Singapore, hundreds of roboticists are competing against each other in five different soccer leagues. The competition's goal is to advance the real-world applications of robotics and eventually to build a robot team that can beat the human World Cup champions.

In previous competitions no robot could be taller than 1.2 meters. But in this year's AdultSize league, Virginia Tech's RoboCup team has entered CHARLI, a 1.5-meter-tall robot that can locate a soccer ball, dribble it up the field, and kick it toward the goal. In the smaller Humanoid league, 24 teams are competing with 60-centimeter-tall robots in games of three on three. "We want to study how tens or hundreds of them can work together on complex tasks," says George Mason University professor Sean Luke.

Hardware is less of an issue in the Standard Platform League (SPL), where all participants have written software to control mini-humanoid robots. The University of Texas at Austin's SPL team is focusing on strategy, rather than raw power, for this year's competition. The team's main goal is to get the ball and move it before the other team can, even if that means the robot is not making a perfect kick.

From Scientific American
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Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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