Creating robots that can play soccer seems to be the Holy Grail for some robot developers. They devote a huge amount of time, effort, resources, and budget in their attempt to develop robot soccer players that could actually beat their human counterparts on the field. From a scientific and technology perspective, we totally agree with them. It would be a wonderful thing to achieve, although we have to wonder what all the out of work soccer players are going to do for a living.
In the meantime, the ROBO-ONE players here in Japan have come up with a rather unique and exciting twist on the traditional game. They've started to play a faster, and looser, game that Nishimura-san refers to as "ROBO-ONE Battle Ball".
The photos below show the Sugiura team getting ready to compete at Battle Ball on the field.
We have video of two games that were staged on Sunday during the ROBO-ONE Special competition held in Kawasaki, and will try to have it posted on Robots Dreams within the next couple of days.
While the general concept of Battle Ball is very similar to soccer in some respects, it has several very definite ROBO-ONE style twists.
For example, it's not unusual to see Great Majingaa or one of the other aggressive robots take a flying dive to try and physically knock their opponent down. They make moves that in a human soccer game would definitely earn them a yellow card if they were lucky enough not to get completely ejected from the game.
Like all the ROBO-ONE events, Battle Ball is challenging, fast, and a tremendous amount of fun - both to play and to watch. Even the brand new MANOI AT01 robot suited up and joined in the fun.