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Turning robots into soccer stars

Turning robots into soccer stars

Sepp Blatter will not be feeling threatened by these potential rivals. By the time this innovative tournament truly kicks off, Blatter will be long gone fabricating new stories in his study. The octogenarian may even be dead. Messi and Ronaldo may not have to worry yet, but perhaps the average high school or college soccer player may have to pull his or her socks up.

RoboCup 2015 has just been launched in the Australian state of Victoria. Over 500 junior and high school scholars have coached their robotic stars into championship contenders. This inaugural event is being hosted by the University of Melbourne. The competition should be great but the playing field is no bigger than a table tennis court.

Quite literally, in fact, the matches will be played on table tennis tables. These students are not only managers and coaches of a new breed of football player. They are also talent scouts. In fact, through the use of 3D printing technology, they built and programmed the robotic players themselves. These players operate autonomously through infrared sensors and internal navigation systems.

The founders of this novel tournament are ambitious. They hope that by 2050, a world’s best team of androids will be able to take a full-sized astro-turf and go on to beat the FIFA World Cup champions. Messi, Ronaldo and current boy wonder, Memphis Depay need not worry. If still alive by then, they will have long retired to their robot-powered wheelchairs or primers. Or they may be dead.

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