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6/26/2006
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German Teams Dominate Robotic Soccer Competition

"RoboCup" this year drew 440 teams from 38 countries.

If the robots' performance on the soccer field this month provides any hint of the human World Cup results, we'll soon see jubilation in Deutschland. The 10th annual world cup for robots, which concluded in Bremen, Germany, last week, saw German teams take 11 of 33 gold cups, with China second and Japan third.

The soccer-playing robot from the B-Smart team of Bremen University can kick a ball to a speed of 10 meters per second. Within 130 milliseconds, the robot processes the images from two cameras to identify its position on the playing field and the position of the other team members, as well as adversaries. "Soccer is used as a standardized engineering problem that allows a comparison of different research areas," says Ubbo Visser from the Technologie-Zentrum für Informatik Bremen, citing sensors, processors, actuators, and embedded systems as key technologies. The robots must move without any human direction.

Next innovation this tournament needs: Singing, drunken robot fans.

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