Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Israel, Canada Among 40 Countries Competing At This Year’s RoboCup

RoboCup 2013, at Eindhoven, Netherlands taking place this week

By: Daniel Koren

Published: July 2nd, 2013 in News » World

The robots are taking over.

At a “soccer” tournament taking place this week at Eindhoven, Netherlands, over 1,000 soccer-playing robots from 40 countries are duking it out to uncover the absolute best of humanoid ballers.

The organizers of RoboCup 2013 aim to organize a team of robot players by 2050 that will be able to defeat a team of professional human players.

But that’s not all.

“By 2050, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win a soccer game, complying with the official FIFA rules, against the winner of the most recent World Cup of Human Soccer,” organizers of the event wrote on the competition’s official website.

Not to imply that the soccer athletes playing at this year’s tournament are a threat to athletes in the slightest. “To be honest, I think a three-year-old could win against any of the humanoid teams,” University of Bonn’s Marcell Missura told the Associated Press. Missura’s football squad, comprise of three-foot-tall robots, won last year’s RoboCup “teen” humanoid division in Mexico City.

There are several divisions and several classes depending on the size and weight of the robot, but the rules rarely change. There is no human interference allowed throughout the games.

The mid-sized robot competition is what fans say is most similar to actual soccer. Known as the ‘R2-D2 League,’ the robots play on a 60-foot-long (18 meter) court.

The Israeli National RoboCup Committee look to advance in the tournament this year, implementing various technologies, design principles, real-time planning, and robotics in developing their robot.

Dr. Eli Kolberg, of Bar-Ilan University’s Engineering School, chairs the commitee, alongside Professor Gal A. Kaminka of the Computer Science Department who chairs the tournament’s Standard Platform League. The event is promoted throughout Israel as an event that highlights scientific research and education within Israel whilst engaging in good-old-fashioned competition. But with robots.

Team BURST (The Bar-Ilan University RoboCup Soccer Team) is the first Israeli team to participate in RoboCup in any of the senior (university) leagues, and has been a member since rose to the top-16 class.

The University of Eindhoven’s “Tech United” is favored to repeat as R2D2 winner, in a sports league where computer codes triumph over brute strength and sheer athletic prowess. Never thought we’d see the day.

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