'Robot Olympics' comes to Bristol

Fri 24th of August 2012, filed under Internet News

Usain Volt and Mobot the Robot

Football, basketball, weightlifting and marathon-running are just some of the events on offer as robots from across the globe compete at the FIRA RoboWorld Cup in Bristol.

Fans stuck for sport in between the Olympics and Paralympics have been treated to many exciting encounters since the competition got underway on Wednesday, with machines such as Usain Volt and Mobot the Robot on show.

The event is being staged by the At-Bristol science and discovery centre, and features teams from 27 countries, including India, China, South Korea, Mexico and Canada. It continues until Saturday, when many of the event finals will reach their conclusion.

Home interest has come in the form of teams from Bristol and Plymouth universities, with fierce competition between the pair.

Plymouth's Peter Gibbons said: "We have been developing our humanoid robot for the last five years, so we're old hands at these games - we've travelled the world with our robots. But this is the first year that the Bristol Robotics Lab has entered a humanoid robot, so we're all keen to see what they have produced."

World-beaters

As NASA's Curiosity Rover continues to set the standard in space, these competitors are attempting to impress the public at home with their sporting prowess.

An entrant from Singapore has already shattered one world record, trimming 11 seconds off the previous sprint best.

The robots do not compete over 100 metres, instead dashing three metres forward and three metres back. In the semi-finals, the Singaporean completed the distance in an impressive 31 seconds, making it an overwhelming favourite for the final.

Many are predicting that the weightlifting record will also fall, as rumours have circulated of some robots performing impressively in practice. This event sees competitors attempt to lift a pole with DVDs attached. Currently, the record stands at 89 DVDs, but apparently some of this year's entrants have been hitting the 100 mark.

Adrian Mursec, senior developer at theEword, said: "While events like this are a bit of fun, it does showcase the incredible advances that have been made in robotics and it's certainly something that Britain can be proud of hosting."

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