Robots aren’t just copying human athletes, they’re copying human sportsmanship. At RoboCup 2010 in Singapore, a Nao robot was programmed to register itself for the competition. The robot was able to enter a room and present the appropriate forms which it carried rolled up as a scroll. You know a robot has heart when it asks to be let in the game. The Nao, part of a team from France, competed in the Standard Platform league of the soccer tournament. Check out a test run of the scroll presentation in the video below.
The programmed ceremony for the Nao registration was mostly for show, but it does highlight how robots are increasingly able to integrate into human activities; if only for short periods of time. RT-Corp, one of the promoters of Aldebaran’s Nao in Japan, has released other videos of Nao robots in real world locations. These ‘Nao about town’ video clips, seen below, are further evidence that well programmed bots can navigate complex environments in limited ways. In this case, the robots autonomously handle difficult terrain such as uneven inclines and grass – not easy for bipedal bots. Clearly their performances seem relatively simple at the moment, but the programming and the hardware are improving every year. Given enough time, the Nao may be able to navigate and interact in human environments with an ease and autonomy that will be more impressive. At some point robots may develop into athletes with all the determination and spunk of Rudy. Let the Nao play, coach. Let him play!
[screen capture and video credits: RT-Corp]
[source: RT-Corp (translated via Google)]