Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on May 7th, 2009

Have You Heard About Robot Soccer?

Every once in awhile, news comes across our desks at Volacci that brings out the “dork” in all of us. This week our robotics-o-meter hit the red when we learned of an outstanding accomplishment in our hometown of Austin, Texas. The University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Computer Sciences’ robot soccer team has won the US championship in the Standard Platform League. They are officially called the UT Austin Villa Robot Soccer Team, named after the prominent English football club, Aston Villa, and has been competing in robot soccer leagues since 2004. This is the first championship they have won. I can’t help but giving an enthusiastic “GOOOOOOOOOOAL!”

The robot soccer team formed out of the research conducted by the Department of Computer Sciences. Their research focuses on machine learning, multi-agent systems and robotics, with robot soccer-specific topics of: learning to walk, illumination-Invariant planning color learning, llumination-invariant vision,autonomous sensor and actuator model induction, learning to acquire the ball, robust localization, learning to play keep-away, and giving advice based on opponent modeling. There are plenty of more areas of focus, and if you would like to learn more, visit their website.

There a few different competitions that Austin Villa participates in, and faces teams from around the world. RoboCup is an international research initiative aimed to “foster the development of useful robotic applications that can assist humans in everyday life”. In the 2007 competition, robots were placed in a living room or kitchen environment and had to complete a series of tasks, ranging from navigating, manipulating, following, copycat, human recognition, and lost and found.

As technology evolves, so do the needs of consumers. One of these days, everyone will have their own robot in the kitchen or living room cleaning crayons off the wall or serving up a generous helping of crab bisque. Maybe we’ll even see professional robot soccer leagues pop up and land Thursday nights on ESPN: The Ocho. Either way, it sure is a fun time to be alive and watching human intelligence develop some amazing technology that is efficient and applicable to a better way of life. The internet is one of those technologies that have helped "flatten" the world and make everyone more accessible and passionate about how their business is optimized online. Volacci is the leading Drupal SEO company and very passionate about your online success. By the end of your contract you will have at least as much additional business from your web site as you spend on our services... or we'll work for free until you do.

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