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Olympics and Robots


Ha, that’s terrific! I bet we will see a lot more “Robot Games” for various sports in the future. I wonder what would be the most difficult sport for robots to handle? I’m going to suggest American football, both because it requires so much on-the-fly group coordination, and because it can be pretty complicated even for spectators to always follow the logic with.

The headline of this article is slightly misleading because there is no direct competition between humans and robots in Olympic skiing.

But the article raises a great advantage of robots, in that they can tread in places and operate in conditions where it is unsafe for humans…and they’re doing just that in Pyeongchang. So while the humans can’t ski because of bad weather conditions, the robots get the slopes all to themselves!

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To @Donna’s comment, robots have been playing soccer for quite some time now. Even after 20 years, I’m not sure you can claim that they “handle” soccer yet. But it’s fun to watch, and it’s a great model for continuous improvement.

“The tournament, which has taken place every year since 1997, has nine different competitions, only six of which involve robots physically playing soccer. There are three humanoid divisions, in which kid-size, teen-size, and adult-size bipedal robots “play” soccer against one another. Next, there are “small size” and “medium size” non-humanoid leagues. There is also a “standard platform” league, in which all competitors use the same type of robot, instead of creating their own according to specs.”


I used to compete in Robocup regularly, and it was amazing how much progress was made year-to-year. They’ve also started doing human vs robot matches - here’s a recent one:


@colin posted this in the Community Slack too. I remarked that it was more fun for me to see them wipeout, to which Colin replied that it may be becuase that humanizes them. That undersocres some other articles I’ve seen that state similar ideas. POur robots are more endearing if they are less than perfect - aka more like us.