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Robots play American football (and suck at it)

Japan's robot version of American football barely resembles the game as we know it, but it's still pretty entertaining to watch.

Robot American Football

Every year, between the months of February and August, there's a feeling of emptiness that falls over me, and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. American football fans know this to be the period of time when there is no college or NFL games, and when we turn into sad lots, feeling cold and alone on weekends and Monday nights.

So imagine my delight when I stumbled across this story about robots playing American football--two of my favorite things combined into one. Score, right? Well, sort of. Unfortunately, the game barely resembles American football, and the robots suck at it.

Sponsored by IT solution provider Fujisoft and held in Yokohama, Japan, the Robot American Football Tournament pits teams of five robots against each other in a three-minute game. Now in its seventh year, the competition, open to high-school teams from around Japan, is designed to encourage engineering and design as a career choice.

In order to be eligible for the tournament, the robots need to be no larger than 7.8 inches in length, width, or depth and 6 pounds in weight. In addition, they must not be equipped with a "new radio control system," though Fujisoft doesn't explain what that means, or there's something lost in translation.

Like American football, a team receives seven points, if the robot takes the ball into the end zone. However, that's about where the similarities end. There are no organized plays, and the bots have a penchant for fumbling the ball, but hey, it's still pretty entertaining to watch the metal droids ram and bash into each either.

(Via IEEE Spectrum)