World War II got in the way in 1942 & 1946, but once every other four years since 1930, the world has turned it’s attentions to groups of men in coloured uniforms racing around a field after a round leather ball. Eet is happa-nin-n-ng ah-gain, June 9-July 9. Enjoy it while you can, as scientists hope to have team of robots that can win the World Cup by 2050.
“RoboCup is an international joint project to promote AI, robotics, and related field. It is an attempt to foster AI and intelligent robotics research by providing a standard problem where wide range of technologies can be integrated and examined.”
And yes, by the year 2050, they hope to have a team of ‘fully autonomous humanoid robots that can win against the human world soccer champion team’. All manner of lofty goals accompany the project – ‘autonomous agents, multi-agent collaboration, strategy acquisition, real-time reasoning, robotics, and sensor-fusion – . RoboCup is a task for a team of multiple fast-moving robots under a dynamic environment’, and they do have their own Federation of International Robot soccer Association, but it’s hard to escape the image of labcoat technicians, pacing the sidelines pissing themselves watching teams of robots battle it out. For the record, in 2005 – Germany won both the four-legged and small size leagues, and Japan picked up both the Rescue Robot & Humanoid divisions, and the 2006 Robo Cup happens 14-20 June in Bremen, Germany.
Missed the 1996 ASCII Soccer World championship? ( Don’t think there’s been a sequel yet… get your cities bids ready ) Wander to the homepage of Tucker Blach, a PhD roboticcs student who invented ASCII Soccer as a tool for investigating how groups of simple agents interact while playing a soccer-like game. Create your own team strategies and test them against others. They’ll be winning the Cup from robots by 2075.
Developing a robotic soccer team capable of beating a human team is as difficult as creating a sensuous robot, a machine of loving grace with effortless elegance, panache, flair. And the people, they like to watch this sort of stuff. Running a few sport searches through youtube.com revealed the following number of clips:
15,599 for soccer
11,103 for basketball
3685 for golf
3418 for tennis
2927 for baseball
1190 for rugby
11 for gaelic football
Amongst the most popular clips, are those featuring soccer’s most famous hero, the Brazilian dribbler, Pele, who has played in 3 winning World Cup finals, and since gone on to appear in TV ads for Viagra, smiling at the camera about how he doesn’t need Viagra, but would use it if he did. Brazil later banned advertisements for impotence drugs citing abuse by youngsters seeking to improve their sexual lives. Nonetheless, this 10 minute tribute to Pele should leave you in no doubt about his near magical abilities. Investigating the ‘bicycle kick’ at youtube, should cement that opinion, it being both where a player kicks the ball in mid-air backwards and over his own head, and Pele’s trademark soccer move. Drool also at this bicycle kick medley – a delight of freakish dexterities. Need more? Pele lip synching James Brown – I feel good.
Dropping some science on the biomechanics of the bicycle kick, these scientists observe :
“Any movement in nature, from particles to planets – and a bicycle kick by PelÃ© – cannot violate the fundamental principles of conservation of Mechanics, ” and head about breaking Pele’s movements down into robot-digestible pieces. Cute diagrams – though perhaps not as cute as this skeleton bicycle kick?