U.S. Triumphs Over Iran—In Robot Football World Cup

lt;pgt;Just weeks after sealing a historic nuclear deal, the U.S. has triumphed over Iran in a somewhat different field of competition—the robotic version of the football World Cup.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;At RoboCup 2015, held over the past week in Hefei, China, an American robot named THORwin defeated its Iranian opponent in the final of the adult-sized humanoid robots category, reports the lt;emgt;lt;a href=quot;http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/22/iran-america-robocup-soccer-finalquot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;Guardianlt;/agt;lt;/emgt;. This category includes robots that stand at least four feet-tall, that must dribble down a field past various obstacles before trying to score against their opponent.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;The RoboCup championships first took place in Japan in 1997, with the goal of advancing robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) research. The lt;a href=quot;http://www.robocup.org/about-robocup/objective/quot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;stated aimlt;/agt; of the RoboCup project is for a fully-autonomous team of humanoid robots to defeat the winners of the most recent World Cup in a full football match, abiding by FIFA rules. The cup organisers hope this will be a reality by 2050.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;According to lt;emgt;lt;a href=quot;http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2015-07/19/content_21324977.htmquot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;China Dailylt;/agt;lt;/emgt;, a total of 175 teams from 47 countries participated in this year#039;s competition, which included rescue activities and service tasks, as well as the football competition. A single British team, Bold Hearts, designed by a group of computer science students at the University of Hertfordshire, took part in the child-sized humanoid football category.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Despite coming second in last year#039;s competition in Brazil, the British team mimicked the underachievement of their human counterparts by crashing out in the second round to a French side. A Japanese team triumphed in this category, eventually defeating a Chinese squad 1-0 in the final.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;In another category, an Australian team defeated a German outfit, using their superior speed to rack up a 3-1 scoreline.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;lt;iframe src=quot;https://www.youtube.com/embed/7iahg4gvBBY?rel=0quot; frameborder=quot;0quot; width=quot;560quot; height=quot;315quot;gt;lt;/iframegt;lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;The middle-sized robots final was marred by controversy, as both robots were shown lt;a href=quot;http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2015-07/23/content_21390359.htmquot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;yellow cardslt;/agt; after colliding with each other harder than necessary. Eventually, the Chinese machine from Beijing Information Science and Technology University triumphed over a Dutch robot from the Eindhoven University of Technology.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;According to the lt;emgt;lt;a href=quot;http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-33621842quot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;BBClt;/agt;lt;/emgt;, various new rules were introduced at this year#039;s competition, including the use of a white ball for humanoid robots, which the machines find more difficult to spot than the previously-used red balls. Matches were also played on soft artificial turf.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Next year#039;s RoboCup will take place in Leipzig, Germany. As with human football, robotics football has its own governing body—the Federation of International Robot-Soccer Association (FIRA), which has its headquarters in Daejeon, South Korea.lt;/pgt;