U.S. droids carry the day at 2011 RoboCup finals
Engineers from Virginia Tech are bringing the Louis Vuitton Humanoid Cup to the U.S. for the first time.
America's robot might won the day at the RoboCup 2011 tournament in Istanbul, Turkey, with a team from Virginia Tech dominating the field.
Teams DARwIn and CHARLI from the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) are the first U.S. groups to win the adult-size and kid-size classes, taking home bragging rights along with the Louis Vuitton Humanoid Cup, a prestigious crystal trophy that was held by Germany and Japan in the past.
The team's 5-foot-tall humanoid robot CHARLI-2 (that's Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence) made its debut in the RoboCup this year, beating Singapore's Robo Erectus 1-0 in a kicking challenge in the adult-size class.
As this video shows, CHARLI-2 moves like a very frail old man. But the robot was already famous last year when Virginia Tech heralded it as "the first untethered, autonomous, full-sized, walking, humanoid robot with four moving limbs and a head, built in the United States."
The lab's miniature humanoid DARwIn-OP, developed with engineering students from the University of Pennsylvania, won the kid-size class, defeating Japanese team CIT Brains 8-1. The final seen in the video below shows that the kid-size matches are far more exciting.
RoboCup robots have made progress since I saw my first games in 2005, but they have a long way to go before the tournament's goal of fielding a team of humanoids against the best human players in the world by 2050.