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Robots Play Soccer, Make Cereal at RoboCup German Open

It's nonstop action and adventure at the RoboCup German Open 2011, from diving soccer saves to artificial-hand-delivered orange juice

1 min read

The RoboCup German Open 2011 wrapped up last weekend, and we've got a couple video highlights to share from the event.

This first clip is from the RoboCup@Home competition, which aims to develop service and assistive robot technology that will eventually make its way into your home. Here, Dynamaid and Cosero, two robots from Team NimbRo at the University of Bonn, team up to autonomously to make breakfast (of a sort):

RoboCup is perhaps best know for soccer, and the Darmstadt Dribblers (we've been big fans foryears) took first place in the Kidsize soccer competition, defending their 2010 title. The 3v3 fully autonomous matches feature thrills, spills, violence, dives, and unprecedented speed and skill... Those robots are as good or better at aiming for the corners than most humans I know. In the first half of the match, stick around until the very end to see some tricky ball-handling skills:

And in the second half, check out one of the bots go from left footed to right footed and score, and make sure to hang on until minute nine to witness the first ever successful goalkeeper save and throw in a regulation robot soccer match:

Remember, the goal of RoboCup is to field a team of human robots capable of defeating a world-class team of humans at full field soccer. Obviously, we're not there yet, but the magnitude of improvements that we've seen over just the last two or three years has me convinced that the 2050 target is, if anything, pessimistic.

[ RoboCup German Open ]

[ Team NimbRo ]

[ Darmstadt Dribblers ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
DarkGray

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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