Zoinks! It’s, Like, Robot Dog Soccer, Scoob!
The year is 2050. A sleek and speedy row of colorfully sponsored tattooed robots, looking not unlike Terminator T-800 without the gun, examine the soccer field with piercing, seemingly detached eyes at the human team across the line. The crowd cheers.
Such is this glimpse of the artificially intelligent future, a goal espoused by Georgia Tech doctorate student Alan Wagner at the 2005 RoboCup US Open at Georgia Institute of Technology.
Of course, when he said that, it was while observing a pack of puppy robot dogs bounding up and down a much smaller field, popping goals with their noses.
The RoboCup is a worldwide scholastic field laboratory, held in Germany and Japan as well. There are five events where student programmers can test their inputs, including a simulation search and rescue event.
The extraordinary thing about these robots is that they are not remote controlled by their creators. They are “free-thinking,” environment adjusting, task-programmed machines that do it all on their own.
“RoboCup is primarily organized to drive software that will make really aware robots possible. Soccer provides a really nice testing environment. Everyone understands soccer so we don’t have to explain what they’re trying to do,” RoboCup U.S. Open Chairman Tucker Balch
The capabilities of the robots increase every year, and teams from around the world bring their best innovations. The Germans, according to Wagner, are a fearsome lot, devoting quite a bit of time and resources to the endeavor.