From June 29th to July 5th 2009, 2,300 people from 44 nations brought their robotic creations to compete in the annual Robocop Soccer Championships, the largest and most important robotic competitions in the world.
While the main event is robotic soccer, robots can also compete in several other categories, which include humanoid and rescue effort, as well as, dance. There is even a junior league to get youngsters interested in science and technology.
Each team has to build its own robot(s) from scratch. This is no easy task. For a robot to be able to play soccer or dance, it must have a lot of capabilities built in, including the art of collaboration and the ability to make quick decisions. However, the difficulties do not seem to prevent kids and adults from trying to build the smartest and the most agile robots with names like Robo-Rooney and Beta-Beckham.
Robocup is a non-profit international initiative whose goal is to encourage artificial intelligence and robotics research. The first official games were held in Nagayo, Japan in 1997. Since then, it has become wildly popular, with countries holding regional Robocup competitions, leading up to the annual World Championship and Conference in July.
While this is all fun, the event organizers have even bigger aspirations. They believe that by 2050, the soccer playing robots will be good enough to beat the best human soccer team in the world! - Now that will be a game to watch! To read more about Robocup go to: http://www.robocup.org/