Hong Bingrong, a professor at Harbin Institute of Technology, thinks robots will beat humans in soccer by the middle of this century. He made this comment at Xihua University in Chengdu, site of the 6th National Robosoccer Tournament — yes, it actually exists … and there have been six of them.
What exactly is robosoccer? Well, just as it sounds, it is robots playing soccer and it has been around for about a decade. More detailed information can be found here. There are different classes of robosoccer, including “human robot” soccer which involves “players” as tall as 150 centimeters tall that weigh up to 30 kilos. A pretty freaky video of some game “action” can be downloaded here.
An organization called the Federation of International Robosoccer Association seems to run the show globally, and — mark your calendars — the 10th FIRA Robot World Cup is in Singapore this year, December 11-16. China’s involvement in robosoccer started in 1997 in Harbin, likely during a long and lonely winter. Now there are some 50 robosoccer teams nationwide, and evidently China is moving up in the world rankings. Some in China likely think that the country’s robot team could already beat its human national team, which failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.
There is likely more information out there, but Shanghaiist admittedly started to feel a bit weird about digging deeper into the world of robosoccer.