Robot Sports Show Their Stuff in Japan

Computer games, long coffee breaks -- the bosses who worry about how human workers wile away unsupervised time may throw in the towel when they hear about how robotic workers of the future might play. On Sept. 4 in Osaka, Japan, an entry designed by UC Davis students will compete in a nationally televised robotic "techno-soccer" challenge. The Japanese public broadcasting station NHK is sponsoring the event, which integrates and applies the newly acquired knowledge of mechanical and electrical engineering students. The participating robotic vehicles must navigate an obstacle-ridden course without human help while dribbling a red soccer ball toward a goal. Then the robot must pick up, store and shoot 20 other soccer balls through a goal defended by a goal-tending robot.