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Friday, June 14, 2024
EditorialsUp Front 05/06

Up Front 05/06

In a world where robots are often confined to more sophisticated uses, it is refreshing to see them come to the rescue of those that might find this year’s Soccer World Cup a bit strenuous. The FIRA RoboWorld Cup 2006, which starts at the end June in Dortmund, Germany, will allow students and scientists from all over the world to fight for a world title. During the tournament, robots of different sizes and classes will compete against each other. There are tournaments for the Micro-Robot (MiroSot), the Simulated Robot (SimuroSot) and the Humanoid Robot (HuroSot). In the MiroSot Class the maximum speed for the little metal athletes is an extraordinary 3 metres per second. Batteries supply them with power for a minimum playtime of 5 minutes per half, after which time the batteries are, unsurprisingly, empty. A camera in the robot observes the game, and a computer on the sidelines takes over picture analysis, strategy planning and the control of the soccer-robots. Since even robots do not always play fair, a human referee on the sidelines ensures they stick to the rules. Although now in its 11th year, having already been held in countries such as Austria, Brazil and China, the event has seen little of the ‘over enthusiasm’ shown by soccer fans in this country. It is so successful that there have been calls for British police to employ scientists to develop a robotic soccer fan that could be sent to represent supporters at future soccer world cups.

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