A quick introduction to the FIRA RoboWorld Cup

first_imgThe Olympics maybe be over, but the RoboWorld Cup is continuing the excitement. The robot sporting event is held by the Federation of International Robot-soccer Association (FIRA) and took place in Bristol, UK, as part of the TAROS (Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems) Conference.The video above gives a brief introduction to the event, which isn’t actually much different from what one would expect it to be — a bunch of autonomous robots competing against one another. The key part is that they are autonomous, so once they are programmed it’s a robo-fight for each goal, kick, and steal. In addition to soccer (football in the UK), the competition includes basketball, sprinting, marathon, and weightlifting.By human standards the competition is pretty tame. For example, the weightlifting event doesn’t feature a robot flipping over a bus or launching an iron ball across a football field, rather a small, friendly bot has to lift a bar full of CDs and carry it one meter. From the video it looks like the bar holds about 40 DVDs, so the combined weight is probably around 650 grams. The current world record is 89 discs. (Most of the information about the event is either outdated or unavailable, but I’ll update this if I find anything regarding the rules and regulations.)Watching the video you’ll see that the programmers went into the first person and responded to the BBC’s questions as if they were actually the robots. I can’t quite tell if this is a mark of their dedication to the project or the BBC poking fun at what is surely a quirky group of extremely bright of introverts. The end of the video, where the robot falls flat on its metal face, seems to imply the latter.Regardless of the BBC’s gentle ribbing, this seems to be a genuinely interesting event that a few teams put serious time into. It might be all fun and games now, but these same students and engineers will one day be building the robots that power our factories, cook our food, and collect our mail. And before long they’ll be teaching humans a thing or two about weightlifting.via BBClast_img

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