Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

10th Annual RoboCup 104

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-bet-a-robot-wins dept.
Aryabhata writes "As soccer fever continues the 10th RoboCup also got to a start. 400 teams fight it out in 11 different leagues including onces designed for humanoid to four legged robots. "The organizers of the tournament hope that in 2050 the winners of the RoboCup will be able to beat the human World Cup champions".
Beyond the novelty value, the cup enables 2,500 experts in artificial intelligence and robot engineering to meet and test their latest ideas. The championships is followed by a 2 day conference where the teams can dissect their play and work."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

10th Annual RoboCup

Comments Filter:
  • 2050 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rbarreira (836272) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:04AM (#15558006) Homepage
    In 2050, the question "Is a team of robots capable of beating a team of humans in football?" will be irrelevant (or at least very different from what it is now). What is a human? Do "cyborg-like" modifications to one's body allow him to be considered human? Etc etc...
    • Re:2050 (Score:5, Funny)

      by mustafap (452510) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:06AM (#15558010)

      Well lets look at what current footballers are like. Mostly dumb, and very vain.

      We have dumb robots, so we just have to work on the 'vain' bit over the next 44 years.
      • Re:2050 (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Alsn (911813)
        You wont be playing in the world cup as a footballer if youre a dumb, vain one. Regardless of what the average is the "best" will always be the smarter/stronger ones.
        • Re:2050 (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Robots already have a degree of self awareness. Position sensors, battery charge monitors, etc are all designed to let a robot know about itself in relation to the world. As we develop more sophisticated robots, they will require a greater degree of self awareness. Right now, industrial robots are basically programmed at the "goto position x1,y1,z1; close gripper; goto position x2,y2,z2; release gripper;" level. If you want them to work at the "Pick up part X from conveyor belt; dip part in solvent tank;" l
    • In 2050, the question "Is a team of robots capable of beating a team of humans in football?" will be irrelevant (or at least very different from what it is now). What is a human? Do "cyborg-like" modifications to one's body allow him to be considered human? Etc etc...

      Well think of it logically. With robotics there is no limit to how powerful you can make their sensors and motors without causing harm to anything. It's just a matter of technology. WIth humans you can't just start attaching parts in a slap

      • Good point, but the point still stands - I think that that question will be either irrelevant or will have a very different meaning in 2050...
      • That arm which can lift a couple thousand pounds will rip the socket and pretty much kill you if you use it to the potential. Robots don't have that problem. PS. If you can guess where I learned this Ill give you a cookie. - you tried attaching an excavator backhoe to your torsoe? Let me guess, you are now typing with one hand?
        • Let me guess, you are now typing with one hand?

          He is, but that has nothing to do with robotics. :-P

          On a more serious note, given that the only part of the body that's really needed for an otherwise mechanical entity to be considered a "human" cyborg is the brain, who says that robots will have the advantage?

          I'd say a 800 pound cybernetic football player with a metal body and a human brain (augmented by microchips) would have an advantage over the same metal body governed by a computer. After all, computers

          • well, if you don't have a limit on the poundage (excuse me, weight,) then the robots can win by default by dropping a trillion ton anvil on the opponent's goal.

            But seriously, will we also allow instant communications and radio-coordination between players on the field? This can make all the difference. Of-course if the cyborgs can also do this then the outcome is not certain.

            However if we also don't bother too much with the definition of a player, then the robot team can just roll out a cannon, load the b
            • True, but all that assumes that whatever sport the robots are playing has no rules.

              If we said today that the only requirement for playing pro sports was that the player be human, then what would stop the athletes from doping themselves to the gils before play? I would imagine that if there was a "cyborg league", there'd be some sort of rule set for what equipment is allowable on the player, equivalent to the rules we have now about steroid use.
      • Yes. But they forgot to mention that by 2050, robots will run out of power a bit under 10 minutes into the game. So humans will have plenty of time to catch up.
      • Well think of it logically. With robotics there is no limit to how powerful you can make their sensors and motors without causing harm to anything. It's just a matter of technology. WIth humans you can't just start attaching parts in a slapdash manner. That arm which can lift a couple thousand pounds will rip the socket and pretty much kill you if you use it to the potential. Robots don't have that problem. PS. If you can guess where I learned this Ill give you a cookie.

        Actually, you are falling into the fa
        • But whats the difference between a robot and a robot with a human brain inside of it that can rip a normal humans arms off? (think Ghost in the Shell)

          You just said the same thing I said only a lot more verbese. I was even thinking of Ghost in the Shell when I wrote that stupid psot.

          The robot, having the disctinct advantage of being electronic through and through can use his computing power at the speed of electrons running from his eyes to his CPU and to his arms (which is near speed of light) and has th

    • They chose soccer not because we need robots that play soccer, but because soccer requires almost all the capabilities currently missing from a useful robot: bipedal motion (for accessing places designed with humans in mind), coordination and collaboration between multiple robots, fast (fast for an humanoid robot means more than 0.1 m/s) and precise motion, and recognition of the position of mobile objects in the surrounding environment.

      A few missing things are added by the Rescue League: recognition and
  • by technoextreme (885694) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:07AM (#15558011)
    http://www.cmu.edu/PR/releases06/060608_robocup.ht ml [cmu.edu] The competition is not just about robots preforming soccer. There are two other events that are completely unrelated to soccer. One event is search and rescue and the newest competition involves domestic applications. PS. This is probably the only time I will ever watch a soccer event.
    • This just maybe the only time I will ever watch a sports event. But does the word 'sports' apply in this case? I wanted to say it is more like an automated assembly line, but in this case the robots are not producing anything useful except data. I guess it is more like a research setting than a game.
    • PS. This is probably the only time I will ever watch a soccer event.

      Interestingly, I was in the same boat as you until a couple of years ago. As a die-hard geek, I could never see what the point was with soccer, until my girlfriend introduced it to me (read it twice if you have to, yes I was introduced by a girl).

      Then I discovered that it's a wonderful game, able to scale from a few kids kicking around a rolled up sock all the way to massive international games of skill. Having a game that can be played by
  • power (Score:5, Interesting)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:23AM (#15558040) Homepage Journal
    Actually I don't doubt that from point of view of mechanics and programming robots that beat humans in all kinds of sport can be built, but will these robots have power cables running to them? Or will the robot team have to replace the batteries on each robot every 10 minutes, that is what I would like to know. How will these robots be powered? For the longest time it has been a tradition in sci-fi stories to have autonomous robots that don't need to recharge every 10 minutes, it is assumed that in the future the problem of battery capacity is somehow resolved. Some robots use built in fission plants, some use fusion plants, some use batteries of unexplained nature, but they can run for days or even years without recharging. If we could actually do something like that, then the life on this planet could become interesting again.
    • We could start with Capacitors enchanted with nanotubes: http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/06/ 09/073216 [slashdot.org]
    • Or will the robot team have to replace the batteries on each robot every 10 minutes, that is what I would like to know. How will these robots be powered?

      Why not fuel cells? Hydogen and elsewise? Perhaps carbon nanotube capacitors [physorg.com]?

      Of course this is kind of like asking someone in 1906, how one would go about finding a method to fuel a Messerschmitt Me 262 [wikipedia.org] jet fighter so that it will have flight times of more than 20 minutes (which won't exist until 1944).
      • Of course this is kind of like asking someone in 1906, how one would go about finding a method to fuel a Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter so that it will have flight times of more than 20 minutes (which won't exist until 1944). - maybe, or maybe not. Today we (humans) have enough knowledge to properly calculate energy requirements for any mechanism. We also have enough knowledge about energy carriers and principles of energy storage, we understand mass to energy, energy to mass conversions and we know tha
        • The fact that humans can get around for more than 20 minutes without "re-charging" demonstrates that there is no set of physical laws that makes this impossible.
          • Re:power (Score:5, Insightful)

            by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @03:25PM (#15558835) Homepage Journal
            But a human cannot push 3 tons of steel at a constant speed of 150km/h for hours and hours and in fact for as long, as there is fuel.

            Sure, living organisms are very efficient at what they do, but we are not talking about living organisms.

            Calculating chemical power requirements for living cells and organisms that comprise of living cells is not that different from calculating power requirements for a 100W lightbulb. Sure, living organisms are efficient in using chemical energy, but these chemicals in themselves are not the best storage mechanism for machines, that need lots of power instantly. That's why excavators burn petrol byproducts for power and not potato chips.

            By the way a car for example can in principle use solar power directly, but a human cannot. A human has to wait for a plant to use the solar power and then a human can eat the plant. This is an inderect way to retrieve power and it is not the most efficient way.
    • Re:power (Score:3, Interesting)

      by YA_Python_dev (885173)
      I was in a team that built a humanoid robot for the robocup a few years ago.
      Yes those robot have all the batteries on board and they have a very short duration: the absolute maximum was more or less 20 minutes, but some robots had batteries that lasted less than 60 seconds (the duration required for a single kick: the competitions in the humanoid league are pretty simple for now ;-)).
  • 2050? Yeah, right. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Maybe AI will advance to the point that a robotic team would win (more easily if they 'share thoughts'), but who foresees that in 40 years there will be robotic machines fast, light and flexible enough to play with humans? Soccer is a contact sport (maybe not as much as rugby, I know). Would you play against a plastics/metal body? Would any country or soccer club risk their players? Some of these guys will be worth more than the robots.

    As a goal to encourage scientific progress it may be a good idea. As a p
  • by giorgiofr (887762) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:25AM (#15558048)
    Can a working human mind ultimately be reduced to a complicated algorithm? Will we be able to emulate it, given the necessary computing power?
  • Are any of the teams networked? It seems like coordination of action would be a *huge step forward
    • Then it's no longer a team, it's a swarm. People also can have communications (I wonder if in team sports it is prohibited to use radios to communicate with the team members?) But people end up thinking on their own, of-course they work on the strategy and tactics before the match, and the coach is supposed to think through the strategy during the match and give advice, but there is no real swarm mind, it's only a team with people who do have independent thoughts and independent perception of reality. A
      • Football players communicate, and Robocup also allows communication (or at least it used to allow it a few years ago).

        I wonder if in team sports it is prohibited to use radios to communicate with the team members?)

        In football I think so, at the very least because it's equipment which can harm the player or other players (yes, there's a rule for that).
        • Unfortunately I forgot to mention that, last I checked, the simulation competition of Robocup allowed communication but with a quite limited bandwidth. I don't know about the real-world competitions of Robocup.
  • by Ireneo Funes (886273) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:34AM (#15558067) Homepage
    It's called FOOTBALL.
    • For the 10^6th time, not in North America it ain't.
    • Here's a hint, brainiac: different dialects often have different words for the same thing. Or do you go around yelling at Americans for talking about "apartments" or "cookies"?
    • It's called REGIONAL DIALECTS, you jackass.
    • You do realize that this website resides in the United States. Odd as it may be we already had a sport called Football, or maybe we're just jerks. Either way, you know what we mean when we say Soccer and we have no idea what you mean when you say Football.

      Ideally there would be some way to day it with a French accent and then we'd know immediately that you means Soccer or Round Ball, or whatever we'd end up calling it. Hey, keep calling it Football. I mean it works for you.
    • Someone should inform the Socceroos.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:42AM (#15558085)
    > Beyond the novelty value, the cup enables 2,500 experts in artificial intelligence and robot engineering to meet and test their latest ideas.

    FYI, though RoboCup has been around for a long time, the past few years have seen a sudden surge of interest in the use of games as a platform for AI research. In addition to the now vast literature on RoboCup there are several new conferences dedicated to AI and games, usually covering non-RoboCup topics. Grep the net for Artificial Intelligence in Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE), Computational Intelligence in Games (CIG), and the Special Session on Games at the Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC). I've seen some of the proceedings on line, and you can find some pretty interesting papers about applications, if you're interested in that sort of thing.
    • FYI, though RoboCup has been around for a long time, the past few years have seen a sudden surge of interest in the use of games as a platform for AI research.

      Some time ago I had some interest in AI research. I visited an international Robocup event in Slovenia because I thought I might see some interesting concepts being used there.

      I talked with several teams and I was quite surprised when I saw how primitive the their programs were. They basically had thousand nested "if" statements. No neural nets or any
      • > I talked with several teams and I was quite surprised when I saw how primitive the their programs were. They basically had thousand nested "if" statements. No neural nets or anything remotely advanced. [...] The Robocup competition I saw there didn't require any special AI or engineering skills from team members at all.

        Kind of like the "beat Kasparov" approach to chess-playing AI. When competition is involved, people resort to hardware and hacks. That says a lot about the state of AI after ~50 years of
      • As far as I know, the whole tournament could have been played entirely in software. The little robots were there only for the audience to see something.

        You have to remember that robotics is about hardware and software. Both of these have their own problems. Usually competitions of hardware robots are all about solving issues with hardware noise. That is why RoboCup has separate hardware and software (i.e., simulation) competitions.

      • That's pretty close to how the Loebner prize competition has turned out as well; most entrants seem to be designed for cheating the Turing test rather than making a genuine effort. It's quite telling that, while ELIZA [wikipedia.org] was written way back in 1966, all the top contestants still work by the same basic principle of static stimulus-response rules. The main difference is that the databases are larger and thus able to cover more cases (and at least one entry could build its database based on user input).

        The m

        • MegaHAL is great (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Nurgled (63197)

          A bunch of friends and I used to run a bunch of MegaHAL bots on an IRC network. A couple of them ran for several years. We let them talk to one another on channels sometimes, with appropriate rate-limiting. After a while the longer-running ones started to seem more and more insane as their databases grew larger and larger. Eventually one of them exploded and corrupted its database somehow; we couldn't be bothered to fix it, but it was a fun experiment while it lasted.

          • Same here, I had a MegaHAL bot running on a pretty active IRC channel for a few years. The reason the overtraining makes it act strangely is because the algorithm picks a sentence out of several generated with the most information value; that is, the least probable one. MegaHAL also generates as many candidate replies as it can within a preset time frame, so with a faster computer you have a higher probability of getting some of the weird special cases that have accumulated in the model over its lifetime.

  • Yeah, right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Clovert Agent (87154) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:46AM (#15558097)
    "RoboCup 2006 is the first step towards a vision," said Minoru Asada, president of the RoboCup Federation.

    "This vision includes the development of a humanoid robot team of eleven players, which can win against a human soccer world champion team."


    Even granting the somewhat unlikely prospect of a robot team that can match the skill and tactical experience of a human side, I can't see them overcoming the obvious safety problems.

    Call me when Minoru Asada is willing to demo what it's like to be slide-tackled by a robot, and I'll reconsider.
    • They'll hard-wire the 3 rules of robotics by -then-.

      So all a human player will have to do is come up with some set of events where a goal saves'em from certain death---and then they'll win :-D
    • what it's like to be slide-tackled by a robot

      In fact, if and when a robot can play football as good as a human, there is not much chance that the machine is going to be built like a T-34. We'll be talking about lightweight plastics, flexible composite materials, microstructures for muscles. The robot would probably not weight much more than a human and probably a lot less, since non-football functions can be removed. Of course some steel will be there, but for the purposes of the game it'll certainly be wel
  • by martyb (196687) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @10:55AM (#15558119)

    The BEEB's blurb was interesting, but here is a link to the RoboCup 2006 home page [robocup2006.org]

    There are pics, background, schedules, leagues, etc.

  • It's over already (Score:5, Informative)

    by SmilingBoy (686281) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @11:36AM (#15558231)
    "As soccer fever continues the 10th RoboCup also got to a start."

    It got to a start four days ago and finished at about the same time as this story was posted!

    Anyway, I was quite impressed - watched lots of it through an internet live stream. The humanoids still have a way to go, but in a few years, it will look much better.

    There are lots of videos on http://www.robocup.zdf.de/ [robocup.zdf.de] (in German).

    SmilingBoy.
  • I had an armor-plated hockey goaltender jock strap that I affectionately referred to as "robocup"
  • by Alicat1194 (970019) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @12:47PM (#15558407)
    How well will the robots be able to fake injuy?

    Ow! Ref! The human just kicked me in my power coupler! The pain! The pain! ::convincing limp::...

    • How well will the robots be able to fake injuy?
      Ow! Ref! The human just kicked me in my power coupler! The pain! The pain! ::convincing limp::...


      While this was modded funny, it could be a major issue when humans take on robots, if the robots have no sense of pain. Slide tackles into a robot which just keeps going, slide tackles from robots that are many times heavier than their human counterparts causing serious permenant injury to the human player. etc.
  • by antdude (79039) on Sunday June 18, 2006 @12:50PM (#15558415) Homepage Journal
    SomethingAwful's amusing doctored image [somethingawful.com] with StarBucks [starbucks.com]' RoboCup!

    "Careful, the beverage you're about to enjoy is extremely hot, Creep." --Jonah in RoboCop Archive forum thread [robocoparchive.com].
  • They'll be armed with 3mm lasers.
  • ... and America could careless :(

    This stuff should be on tv every year in full coverage real time coverage.

    • ... and America could careless :(

      This stuff should be on tv every year in full coverage real time coverage.


      Hey, it's SOCCER. No one in the USA watches soccer.

      No sports fan in the USA will care about a robot until it gets over 700 home runs (or by 2050, perhaps 980 - sorry, Babe, Hank and Barry). And then there will be rumors that it uses nuclear power.
  • by uarch (637449)
    "The organizers of the tournament hope that in 2050 the winners of the RoboCup will be able to beat the human World Cup champions"
    Not unless they have humans competing against DARPA Grand Challenge entries that keep mistaking them for speed bumps.
  • ...what does this mean for the future of the four-legged league?

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.

Working...