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Soccer Robots Score on Humans at RoboCup: GOOOOOOAL!

This is probably the most exciting 10 seconds of robot soccer you've ever seen

2 min read
Soccer Robots Score on Humans at RoboCup: GOOOOOOAL!

We posted a lot of footage from RoboCup 2014 last Friday, but we didn't post any footage from the final game in the tournament, where the winning mid-size robot team plays against a bunch of not-entirely inept humans. Arguably, this is the most exciting game of all, because it gives a sense of what the current state-of-the-art in robotic soccer is, and how it stacks up to a team of moderately talented squishy bipeds.

We're still waiting on the entire game to be posted, but in the meantime, this is incredibly awesome:


This is not the first time robots score against humans in RoboCup. But the key thing here is that the goals scored by robots are getting better because the robots are getting better. In fact, not to get all soccer-y on you, this play was very far from dumb luck: Tech United Eindhoven's robots made a pass, the striker robot looked at the goal and saw a defender in the way, decided not to shoot, made a pass instead, and the wing robot put it right into the side of the goal. Most of the humans weren't particularly aggressive, but the defender dude looked like he was actually trying pretty hard there, and he couldn't stop the attack.

RoboCup's goal is to make this work with humanoid robots, but I'm not sure what the point is of doing that, besides that it would give the robots artificial ankles to grab after they fall over in dramatic fashion. But seriously, I could imagine a team of these mid-size robots potentially defeating a determined team of humans on a small field within the next decade.

To get an idea of how much progress has been made in RoboCup midsize over the last several years, here's a bunch of vids that we found on YouTube of midsize robots vs. humans matches from RoboCups past (the robots vs. humans has become a tradition). We couldn't find all of them, so if you have better footage of these games, definitely let us know.

RoboCup 2007


RoboCup 2009


RoboCup 2010


RoboCup 2011


RoboCup 2012


[ RoboCup 2014 ] via [ Tech United ]

The Conversation (0)

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
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

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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