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Thursday, June 27, 2002

Soccer Robots Compete for 6th Annual RoboCup
By Bijal P. Trivedi
National Geographic Today
Published June 17, 2002
(RoboCup Photo Gallery)
Robots of all shapes and sizes kick off in an international soccer tournament this week with nearly 200 teams from 30 nations battling it out in a domed stadium in Fukuoka, Japan—not the World Cup but the 6th annual RoboCup. Some players look like cubes on wheels, others like dogs. And this year, for the first time since the games began in 1997, RoboCup will have a humanoid league with 12 teams from six countries. Some coaches—researchers and academics—are betting that a fully autonomous robot soccer team will outplay the human world champions by 2050.

Action shot of Sony Legged Robot League

But RoboCup does more than demonstrate how androids can put a ball between goal posts. Machines designed to play soccer can also be adapted to handle tasks that would be difficult or dangerous for humans, such as cleaning up nuclear wastes, exploring space, gathering military intelligence, or searching for survivors after disasters. RoboCup also has a robot rescue division—particularly relevant given the use of robots at the World Trade Center site last year. Robots in this league are tested on their abilities to find mannequins trapped inside a three-story building that has collapsed.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

News: Are you ready for angry robots?
By Guest Writer
ZDNet Australia
June 21, 2002, 10:20 AM PT
By Ed Dawson
Imagine a "friendly fridge" that could have its own personality, or a child's toy that would do more than imitate feelings.
An Australian company called Mindsystems has devised an Artificial Intelligence system for simulating human emotion. It can apparently be used to quite convincingly replicate a person's feelings in a variety of situations. Called EMIR (Emotional Model for Intelligent Response), it is based on real-time data collected by researchers in the psychological sciences
Mindsystems predicts EMIR could be used for virtually every system that has a human-machine interface. It goes as far as imagining a stock-market simulation that could predict how thousands of investors would react emotionally to certain information.
The system includes simulation for feelings that are somewhat surprising. For example, the system can simulate boredom.

The Guardian - News - Story - Robot fails to find a place in the sun
By Martin Wainwright
The Guardian
Published Thursday June 20, 2002
After four months of entertaining humans, Gaak the predator robot yesterday did what all the best robots do in science fiction: he copied his masters' most basic instinct and made a dash for freedom.

Programmed to sink a metal fang into smaller but more nimble prey robots, to "eat" their electric power, at a science adventure centre, Gaak showed that a two year experiment in maturing robot "thinking" may be proving alarmingly successful.

Left unattended for 15 minutes, the 2ft metal machine crept along a barrier until it found a gap, squeezed through, navigated across a car park and reached the Magna science centre's exit by the M1 motorway in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Monday, June 24, 2002

Plustech Walking technology

The walking forest machine is Plustech's best-known innovation.
The goal of product development was a machine that has the best
possible working stability and minimum impact to the terrain.

The walking machine adapts automatically to the forest floor.
Moving on six articulated legs, the harvester advances forward
and backward, sideways and diagonally. It can also turn in
place and step over obstacles. Depending on the irregularity of
the terrain, the operator can adjust both the ground clearance of
the machine and the height of each step.