Over 2500 participants from 40 countries and 40,000 spectators attended the Robocup 2013 in Eindhoven, Netherlands last weekend. Organizers of the Robot World Cup aim to put a team of androids up against the human winners of the FIFA World Cup in 2050 -- and win.
For now, the robots in the 2013 Humanoid League shuffle and bump across a miniature field. So slowly, in fact, they could be out-scored by human toddlers.
Still, there has been vast improvement since robotic soccer began with the 1993 launch of the Robot J-League competition in Japan, followed by the international RoboCup competition beginning in 1997.
Germany won the humanoid teen size category, and Japan took the top title in the humanoid adult size.
The NimbRo TeenSize team from Germany had an easy 5-0 win in their final against CIT Brains Teen from Japan. Teen league matches are played with two coordinating robots per team. CIT Brains had some difficulty with their robots, leaving them a droid down early so Germany could take a comfortable lead, which helped them when they had technical difficulties late game.
In the Adult Size league, single robots at least 130 centimeters tall face off, taking turns taking five penalty shots and defending the goal. The ball is placed behind the robots which then have to recognize and locate it before shooting.
The Adult Size humanoid robot from the Japanese JoiTech team won an exciting RoboCup 2013 final match 4-3 against HuroEvolution AD from Taiwan.
There are several different divisions at RoboCup for smaller and larger non-humanoid robots, virtual robots, rescue bots and home-helper robots. To meet their 2050 World Cup mission, engineers, teams and leagues share ideas to eventually merge the best techniques into one world-class android team.