February 01, 2002

Teams in Korea and elsewhere are getting ready for RoboCup 2002, the World Cup of robot soccer. The goal of the sport is to develop "fully autonomous humanoid robots that can win against the human world soccer champion team" by the year 2050.

posted by rcade to soccer at 11:23 AM - 9 comments

there is a reason "the worldwide leader in robotic sports" is Comedy Central and not ESPN. this is an engineering competition, not a sport, as clearly stated on the robocup page: "To achieve this tremendous feat of scientific engineering, problem related to artificial intelligence and robotics must be solved." such is my initial reaction, but perhaps that's why rcade emphasized "robots that can win against the human(s)" on the front page. is chess a sport? spelling bees are broadcast on ESPN? my gosh, they are. (i am in no way calling rcade out, this is certainly the "something new related to sports" posting guideline) but this is the central question of this thread right? what qualifies as a sport? when humans play against these robots, it will become a sport. but the robots will never be more than objects in the game, like the ball and goalposts, like the pool in a diving competition. i love robot wars/battle bots et al, but i can never picture myself actually rooting for a specific robot. the team that develops the robot maybe, but never the actual piece of engineering. call me old-fashioned.

posted by danostuporstar at 11:45 AM on February 01, 2002

What's the difference between Auto Racing and BattleBots?

posted by jacknose at 01:10 PM on February 01, 2002

G-Forces. Standing in the background twiddling with a remote is not the same as being in a vehicle experiencing tremendous G forces, vibration, and heat. Not to mention the reflexes required for it. The average F1 racer loses upwards of 5-10 pounds during a single race. Personally, I consider a sport anything that challenges a person physically in a competitive manner. Robotwars are interesting, and competitive... but I regard them more as games or competitions than sports. However, with my definition - it can be argued that manning a remote control requires hand eye coordination and quick reflexes, so I'm not sure. Same can be said about darts, or bowling. It's all a gray area.

posted by mkn at 01:43 PM on February 01, 2002

what's the difference between auto racing and horse racing? between horse racing and bobsledding? between bobsledding and speed skating? i don't know where exactly, but somewhere between a speedskater using his skates to propel him forward and a battlebotter using his remote control lies the difference between an athelete and a game player. when i play monopoly, i am in competition with another player, i'm employing strategy, i'm even physically rolling dice and moving my little iron to boardwalk. i'm no athelete, neither is a battlebotter. the dictionary.com def starts with the words "Physical activity" ... there is a hint there. but IMO opinion chess is more a sport than, say, shuffleboard. so there's got to be more to it.

posted by danostuporstar at 01:57 PM on February 01, 2002

I agree, the lines are blurry. I am certainly not implying that BattleBots is a sport (if so, all video games are also sports). I think that Auto Racing requires a lot more strength and skills than controlling machines that are separated from you. Maybe therein lies the difference--the personal physicality of sports. Controlling machines from the outside (e.g. battlebots) is primarily a vicarious experience. Sitting in a machine and controlling it (e.g. auto racing) is active participation.

posted by jacknose at 02:09 PM on February 01, 2002

I got the impression that it's not even a matter of remote control. I think the robots are supposed to "play" themselves. from the rules of the mid-sized competition: Manual interaction with the robots, either directly or via some communications mechanism, is not permitted except during kick-off, restart, and finish of the game or when ordered by the referee. The referee may order robot attendants to enter the field and slightly separate entangled robots. Dead robots, as judged by the referee, must be removed from the field. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like you're just supposed to set up the robots and then watch them play.

posted by jnthnjng at 02:19 PM on February 01, 2002

I think that's correct -- the goal is for the robots to handle their own play, beat the human soccer team, then (presumably) enslave humankind. If you're curious, the BYU link I posted includes a 13-minute video of two robots playing soccer. They look like a couple of garage door openers being driven by children, nudging a ping-pong ball around. I'm not sure 48 years is enough time, unless they set their sights a little lower -- such as beating the U.S. soccer champion team.

posted by rcade at 02:31 PM on February 01, 2002

by the year 2050 The field of AI does itself no favours by peddling this "tomorrows world" crap. Maybe 2150? The big question here is "why would I want to watch robots play football (ok, soccer)?". Speaking personally I wouldn't. Sport is about emotional content, otherwise I could get a kick watching the drum spin around on the washing machine. Robot wars works at the moment, because it has humans at the controls. I predict that if that element is removed, so will the "sport" be.

posted by walrus at 01:41 AM on February 02, 2002

Kind of silly, but don't you think we could build a couple of robots that could beat a soccer team now? Maybe just one big old robot that sucks the ball up vaccum-style at the beginning of play, and then blasts it through a cannon at the goal. A pitching machine on wheels sort of thing. To make it interesting, you'd have to make them anthropomorphic robots, and people-sized at that. And that's where it get really silly. I'm not watching that. What I will watch, however, is Mike Tyson fighting a Battlebot. Try biting that, nutcase.

posted by Samsonov14 at 05:35 PM on February 07, 2002

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.