Flea Sized Robot Plays Football (Soccer)
The Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS) is a part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich and is located at the main ETH campus.
IRIS conducts dynamic robotics research with special focus on several emerging areas of science and technology. A major component of IRIS research involves advanced robotics for creating intelligent machines that operate at micron and nanometer scales. These robots are actually much smaller than a flea.
Above is an image of one of their robots sitting on top of a grain of table salt.
See one in action in this video
That’s cool, but can it really play soccer?
Last summer Robocup added a new league so nanobots could be included in the competition. The new league is called the nanogram division and the team from ETH was the first ever winner in this class.
RoboCup is an international joint project to promote AI, robotics, and related field. It is an attempt to foster AI and intelligent robotics research by providing a standard problem where wide range of technologies can be integrated and examined. RoboCup chose to use soccer game as a central topic of research, aiming at innovations to be applied for socially significant problems and industries. The ultimate goal of the RoboCup project is by 2050, develop a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots that can win against the human world champion team in soccer
Here are some of the things the nanobots have to do in the competition.
- Two Millimeter Dash: The robots must travel as fast as possible from one goal to the other.
- Slalom Drill: The path between goals is blocked by stationary “defenders” that the micro-robot must avoid as it races between the goals.
- Ball-handling Drill: The robots must push as many balls as possible into the goal within a 3-minute time period.
Have a look at the field.
Really cool. The real hope is that one day these robots may be able to go inside your body and fix things.