RoboCup – Soccer Not Cyborg

Author: Lisa Marie Patzer

During a recent Penn Alumni event, I had the opportunity to see Dr. Dan Lee and three Penn engineering students demonstrate RoboCup.  One of Penn’s RoboCup teams, the UPennalizers, describes RoboCup as “an international robotics competition that draws teams from all over the world to build and program robots that play soccer. The overarching aim of the competition is to have, by the mid 21st Century, a team of eleven autonomous robots that will beat the human soccer world champions.”  Dr. Lee and the students demonstrated how the robots work using two of the Penn RoboCup players.

RoboCup Team Players

Through the use of sensors that can detect color and distance, dynamic motion that allows the robots to mimic basic human movement and advanced computational power, these cute plastic machines can play soccer independent of human control.

RoboCup player rests after the demonstration.

Penn Engineering has been participating in RoboCup games since the late 1990’s and has traveled throughout the United States as well as internationally to Istanbul, Graz, and Singapore. Team DARwIn, a collaborative effort between Penn and Virginia Tech, won first place in the Humanoid Kid Size competition at the 2011 RoboCup tournament in Istanbul, Turkey.

Team DARwIn

For more information about RoboCup and to see videos of them playing, visit their website!


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