Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Sleep well, gentlemen.
It’s easy to look at this sight and make a joke. “That’s the worst game of hide-and-seek I’ve ever seen,” comes to mind. But the teams that compete in the soccer league of RoboCup face enormous challenges: From hours of preparation, practice, coding, and, if warranted, building of the actual robots, travel schedules that can mean a trip halfway around the world, and hours of on-site preparation in a country that may be completely foreign to most, all for a few minutes of play on a miniature soccer field, where autonomous robots are less loose on each other to play football. 

It’s exhausting, even from the stand-point of a witness bystander. The details are bewildering, from computer coding to re-wiring parts of the robot, to checking levels of the robots with strings and a small weight when no laser-guided tools are available, and walking barefoot on the soccer fields to find any and every inch of uneven flooring that might throw a robot’s balance off. The details are immense. The painting style Pointillism comes to mind watching the teams cover every imaginable and unimaginable detail, each do  requiring the same absolute attention required to make a work of art, such as “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” by Georges Seurat. 

RoboCup 2012 is taking place in Mexico City, certainly one of the most fascinating and historic cities in either North or South America, but most of the teams here have spent every waking hour since their arrival in Mexico inside the World Trade Center convention center, prepping for a competition – friendly as it is – that will lead to one winner who has bragging rights for the best robotics – surely the new leader in future technology – for the next year. 

No doubt the rest this team is taking, in a bright, noisy, crowded, music-filled hall, is well-deserved, and well-needed. Excelsior, gentlemen.

No comments:

Post a Comment