The smell-o-vision iPod

The World Cup for robots

Strikers jostling for control, goalkeepers frantically fighting to save their teams, international reputations at stake: Yes, folks, it’s once again time for that other international soccer competition — the RoboWorld Cup!

Beginning tomorrow, millions of fans — or at least dozens — from around the world will converge on Germany to watch tiny cube-shaped robots fight over a ball. And what an excellent ball, eh? Check that thing out: A regulation golf ball painted orange. This is the punk rock of soccer.

As the RoboWorld site notes:

As many who have witnessed a MiroSot game will testify, the excitement always runs high especially when two strong robot-soccer teams meet. During the match, the robot players autonomously tackle many unfamiliar situations that arise due to the different strategies, hardware and control software technologies employed in the opponent robot players. Like in a FIFA World Cup soccer match, no one knows for sure which team will win until the final whistle.

I hope they put video online.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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