Living here in Japan we get to attend a lot of robot, and robot related events. Some of them are fun, others are educational, and a few of them are... well, a little boring. But there is one competition that is always a blast, extremely educational, and never ever boring in the slightest - the All Japan Robot American Football competition.
The robot football event is organized by Fuji Soft (FSI), the same company that developed and sponsors the annual Japanese Robot Sumo competitions. As you might expect, the teams build their robots based, in large part, on the same types of chassis and principles they use for robot sumo. But there are some major differences.
While robot sumo often depends heavily on stability, power, and traction, to succeed in robot football, a robot design has to be extremely fast and maneuverable.
Most important - the robots, and the players, have to be able to play as a team - just like in real football. Robot sumo tends to be more of a solitary sport that pits one builder against another. But in robot football, everyone has to work together and develop winning strategies.
You can see a lot of similarity between the robot football designs and those used in Japan for robot sumo.
Durability is really key. The robots travel at high speed, and are constantly running into each other or crashing. If a design isn't robust and durable, it won't last more than one or two minutes.
Each team has 5 players on the field at any given time. The control system was especially designed by FSI for the robot American football competitions.
Here's a sample of how intense the play actually is:
Cheerleaders! Of course - it wouldn't be football without cheerleaders.
As always, the most important ingredient is fun. The teams worked really hard, competed hard - whether they won or not, and played hard. Everyone we talked to just absolutely loves the sport.
Official Robot American Football Website (Japanese)