Olympian Robots Have Come To Town

Olympian robots have come to town this weekend in the West of England. The city of Bristol is host to lots of feisty little robots. They are around three feet tall. Some are purchased clones and some have been built with the events in mind and are unique.

The key feature for a winning robot is the training team who write the software and teach the robot the competitive tricks required for success, whether in football, weight lifting, basketball, sprinting, or marathon running. The news media have given a lot of coverage to the FIRA RoboWorld Cup (1, 2, 3). The BBC, for example, has interviews with several of the competing robots (3).

The events have their own idiosyncratic attraction. The marathon is not run over the 42 km of a human event. It is run over 42 m. To make the sprint difficult for a robot, it has to run 3 m forward then 3 m back. The current world record is 31 sec.

Weight lifting is a sort of snatch with CDs placed on the ends of the bar. The existing record of 89 CDs is within sight as 100 have been hoisted in training by some teams.

Sandwiched between the Olympics and the Para-Olympics held this year in London, the FIRA RoboWorld Cup in Bristol hasn’t gone un-noticed. It may only last a couple of days rather than a couple of weeks but the bid to get the event to the city had to be aggressively planned and competed for. The bid went in in 2010.

It was great to bring the event to the UK for the Queen’s Jubilee year, and although the opening ceremony wasn’t anything like as lavish as that of the London 2012 games and there was no Queen and James Bond helicopter leaps, the city can be justly proud.

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19359372
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/25/roboworld-cup-pits-photos_n_1828334.html
  3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19361217

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