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An Introduction to Robot Soccer

Robot soccer, as the name implies, is a game of soccer played by robots. It started as a concept in 1992 and has grown into a big program. With robot soccer, robots play in a simulated soccer setting using real game rules and tactics.

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Robot Soccer Player

It’s evident that machines or, better still, intelligent robots are becoming a major part of our existence. They first started as simple mechanical machines to help make jobs easier. Now, robots have artificial intelligence infused into them to think and act like humans.

In a bid to bring robots into different areas of our lives, robot soccer was made. Although we have the regular soccer sport, which humans play, robot soccer brings a new twist to things. But what exactly is robot soccer? And what is it all about? This article looks at this interesting new area and you can find answers to all your questions at FuturePlay News.

What is Robot Soccer?

Robot soccer, as the name implies, is a game of soccer played by robots. It started as a concept in 1992 and has grown into a big program. With robot soccer, robots play in a simulated soccer setting using real game rules and tactics.

In this sport, you’ll find teams of robots, each of which is controlled by a unique set of hardware components, sensor inputs, and computational algorithms. These robots have been built to gather information about their surroundings, form strategies, and carry them out. You’ll be amazed to see robots pass the ball back and forth, take shots, and defend their goal with flawless coordination and communication.

The invention of robot soccer has brought about the creation of different competitions to host this sport. Examples are The RoboCup, an annual international robotics competition, and numerous others. The major objective of RoboCup is to create a humanoid robot soccer team by the year 2050 that can beat the best human squad.

History of Robot Soccer

The first hint of robot soccer started in the early 90s when scientists and robotics enthusiasts first began toying with the idea. This took place in 1992 at a conference called “Workshop on Grand Challenges in Artificial Intelligence.” Separately, in 1993, a scholarly article was published in Computer Vision: Systems, Theory, and Applications describing an experiment with miniature soccer players. This was by Professor Alan Mackworth of the University of Bristol in Canada. Ultimately, he said that the long-term goal is to have teams of robots play soccer in cooperative and competitive behavior,” Below is the evolution of the game.

1993 First Robot Soccer Match

The First Robot Soccer Match was recorded in 1993 in Kyoto, Japan. It featured two teams of miniature wheeled robots that used a miniature tabletop field to play a streamlined version of soccer.

Growth of Robot Soccer Leagues

As interest in robot soccer expanded, many leagues and tournaments were held in different parts of the world. There were tournaments where teams of virtual robots played in a computer-generated environment, and there were competitions where real robots played on real fields.

2002: Four-Legged League

RoboCup debuted the Four-Legged League, also called the Standard Platform League, in 2002. There were robots with four legs, which is a more complicated mobility method than wheels.

2008: RoboCup Middle Size League

In 2008, RoboCup debuted the Middle Size League, which features teams of autonomous wheeled robots competing on a wider field. This league included more nuanced gaming and strategic considerations, calling for better-developed faculties of observation, judgment, and motor control.

2015: Humanoid Soccer Robots

Humanoid soccer robots have become increasingly advanced as robotics technology has progressed. These robots attempted to perform actions and maneuvers similar to those of humans, such as walking, running, and kicking a ball. The creation of competitive soccer leagues highlighted the popularity and improvement of humanoid robot capabilities.

The field of robot soccer is constantly developing thanks to new insights and innovations in perception, decision-making algorithms, motion control, and teamwork. RoboCup is as popular as ever, drawing teams from all around the world to compete in a wide range of robot soccer tournaments.

Why is there Robot Soccer

Robot soccer is a testing ground for cutting-edge AI and robotics technologies. It forces participants to create complex algorithms and control systems to help the robots understand their surroundings, act responsibly, and work together. Innovation in fields like computer vision, motion planning, machine learning, and human-robot interface are all encouraged by the sport.

In addition to its usefulness in scientific studies, robot soccer may be used to get kids excited about robotics and other STEM subjects. It’s a fun and exciting way to study coding, robotics, and cooperation in a classroom or at home with fellow fans. Although Robot Soccer is clearly not a humanly performed physical activity, it has been included on this list because of the similarities it shares with football.

Different Robot Soccer Leagues

Today, you can join one of several different leagues for robot soccer, each with its own set of rules and regulations. Some of the more well-known robot soccer leagues are as follows:

RoboCup Soccer Leagues

The RoboCup Soccer league has 5 sub leagues, each with its robot build and peculiarities. There are five major RoboCup soccer leagues. There is the RoboCup Humanoid League, RoboCup Standard Platform League, RoboCup Small Size League, RoboCup Middle Size League, and the RoboCup Simulation League.

FIRA RoboWorld Cup

The RoboWorld Cup is hosted annually by the Federation of International Robot-soccer Association (FIRA) and features competitions between humanoid, medium-sized, and small-sized robots. The tournaments highlight developments in robot technologies through cooperative and competitive gameplay.

DARwIn-OP Humanoid League

Robot soccer league centered on the DARwIn-OP (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence-Open Platform) humanoid robot platform. Teams compete by programming soccer-playing robots to move and coordinate in dynamic ways.

European RoboCup Junior

The European RoboCup Junior features junior-level (up to 19 years old) robot soccer competitions. The goal is to get kids interested in STEM by having them build and program their robot soccer team.

Researchers, engineers, and students all have a chance to show off their work in robotics, AI, and autonomous systems on these league stages. The competitions explore the limits of what robots can do in a soccer game through invention, teamwork, and the sharing of knowledge.

Future of Robot Soccer 

There are promising developments and opportunities in robot soccer’s future. Some factors that may influence robot soccer’s future include:

  • One is the development of AI systems. More complex algorithms and decision-making systems will be implemented into robot soccer as AI develops further. Robots may soon be able to assess game circumstances, adjust strategies, and generally improve gameplay thanks to advances in machine learning, reinforcement learning, and deep neural networks.
  • Second, robot locomotion and agility may progress in the future, leading to more agile and dynamic moves in robot soccer. It’s possible that robots could eventually be able to run, sprint, and change directions swiftly like humans, which would greatly improve their dribbling, passing, and shooting abilities.
  • Third, working together as a team is likely to become an integral part of robot soccer in the future. A more dynamic and interesting game could result from better communication algorithms and coordination mechanisms, allowing robots to strategize, pass the ball more efficiently, and execute coordinated plays.
  • With the growing interest in robot soccer, research on how to improve robots’ interactions with humans may receive more attention. The development of user-friendly interfaces, the facilitation of natural teamwork between human and robotic players, and the production of compelling environments for spectators are all possibilities.

AI, perception, locomotion, teamwork, and human-robot interaction are just some of the areas where robot soccer is poised for future growth.

Sport Enthusiast, Builder of brands, and proud founder of Machina Sports, dedicated to pioneering the fusion of human athleticism with cutting-edge technology. Committed to creating a global platform and brand that celebrates the excitement and innovation inherent in Machina Sports while engaging a diverse community of enthusiasts and athletes worldwide.

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The Future of Racing: Beyond Wheels and Into the Skies

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How flying cars and jet suit racing are redefining the boundaries of sports.

In a world obsessed with speed, the race track has long been a battleground for the most audacious of dreamers. 

It’s where innovation meets adrenaline, where the sound of engines and the screech of tires on asphalt have defined generations of speed fans. 

But as we stand on the brink of a new era, the race track is no longer confined to the limitations of the ground. We are entering an age where the sky becomes the ultimate racing frontier, and the boundaries of sports are being redefined right before our eyes.

Believe it or not — we already have a virtual reality gates for the flying cars. 

Growing up, I was mesmerised by speed. The faster, the better. Cars, bikes, rollerblades — if it could move, I wanted to see how fast it could go. Yet, even in my wildest dreams, flying cars were a fantasy reserved for superheroes and sci-fi movies. 

Little did I know, the future of racing was quietly brewing, not in the pages of comic books, but within the labs and minds of engineers and visionaries around the world.

And I was a part of it. — Lexie Janson, a flying car racing pilot

Lexie Janson (racing pilot) and her flying car.

When Dreams Take Flight

The pursuit of flying cars has long captured the human imagination. It’s a symbol of our desire to break free, to defy the very laws of nature that have bound us. But what once seemed like a distant dream is now palpably close. 

Companies around the globe are developing flying cars, not just as luxurious gimmicks, but as the next big thing in personal transport and, more importantly, in racing.

Imagine cities hosting grand prix events not on closed circuits, but above them, with flying cars racing between skyscrapers, iconic landmarks, and down the riverbeds. 

And of course — crashing, which is a way less desirable part of it. 

Maybe let’s skip landmarks and historically important spots. 

The skillset for pilots in this new era goes beyond steering and braking. It is a mix of jet fighter pilot and Formula 1 driver. It’s about surviving the G-forces, creating a strategy for 3D circumstances and quick reaction times (especially if another pilot comes from above or below). 

Jet suit racing (Iron Man!?)

If flying cars promise to redefine racing on a macro scale, jet suit racing touches upon the individual’s quest for speed (and nerdy dreams of becoming an Iron Man)

Picture this: racers dressed in jet suits, lifting off from the ground, powered by the sheer force of technology strapped to their backs and hands. This sport requires an extreme core balance and body control strength. One missed move may mean crashing or spinning uncontrollably. 

“Oh, this is still an imagination,” you may say. But it’s not. It’s real:

CHeck out our vlog from the Gravity.co test flight vlog

In February 2024, Dubai, UAE — Gravity.co has conducted the first jetsuit race in the world. In this historical event 8 pilots have been fighting for the title of the first champion. The event had it all: crash into the water, disqualification, a pilot “losing it” and extreme circumstances. 

The final race lasted 90 seconds.

Its winner — Issa Kalfon has left his name on the pages of history for ever. An ex-gymnast claims that his past career path was one of the deciding factors in his training and win. Because machina sports are not just about the machines. It’s about human and the machine. 

Jet suit racing isn’t just about who crosses the finish line first; it’s a testament to human ambition and ingenuity. Each race pushes the boundaries of what’s possible, challenging pilots to outmanoeuvre their opponents while maintaining control over their high-powered suits. 

It’s exciting, nerve-wracking and extreme.

But Gravity.co is not only about racing. Their jetsuit is also created to help medics get to their patients in less favourable spots, transportation and military use. 

Gravity.co Dubai Race promotional picture

FPV Drone Racing — Esports and athletes

But not all the new sports require athletes to get into any type of a suit. FPV Drone racing is a discipline that connects esports with athletic abilities. 

As esports players get their time in the gym for reaction times, cardio, and general health — FPV Pilots need to do the same to withstand the stress and pressure during their races. 

It’s not all about the drones that one can buy in the store. It’s mostly self-built racing drones that can fly with a speed of 200km/h. 

FPV Racing Drone during MultiGP Sharjah event (owned photo)

During an FPV Race 4–8 pilots fly the FPV Drones through an obstacle track. Pilots see what their drones see in real time through FPV Goggles, and control them via an RC controller. 

Pilots often experience midair collisions, crashes, and exciting chases throughgout the race. But is it a spectator sport? Yes! In the recent event MultiGP Sharjah — FPV Drone Racing has reached a brand new level of spectator-friendly event. The audience could see what the pilots saw on the screens, but also “line of sight”. And the view? Easy to understand, and pretty exciting. If you are interested in more visuals — check out our vlog.

Long-exposure picture of the race in Sharjah (owned)

The Evolution of the Spectator

The sports as we know them haven’t changed much in the last decades, as the human bodies have limited capabilities. This is why machina sports are popping here and there showing that human and the machine mean even more excitement and a new, fresh outlook on sports and athletes. 

As racing seems to take to the skies, so too must our conception of spectatorship evolve. Traditional racetracks may transform into multi-dimensional arenas, offering views from below, above, and all around.

Can you imagine!?

Lexie Janson and her flying car (licensed photo)

Fans might follow races through augmented reality interfaces, experiencing the flight from the perspective of their favourite pilots. With the virtual reality tracks — the world becomes a stage, turning spectators into an integral part of the racing narrative.

And I guess we are all here for it. 

Embracing the Future

The migration of racing from wheels to the skies is more than an evolution in sports; it’s reimagining of human potential. 

Picture cyborgs…

In this era of air racing, every pilot’s journey, every race, every breathtaking moment reminds us of our collective drive to break barriers and explore new horizons.

As a child, I could only dream of such marvels. Yet, as we stand on the cliff of this thrilling future, it’s clear that those dreams weren’t just flights of fancy (pun intended). 

They were visions of what was to come. 

The future of racing is here, and it’s inviting us to look upwards, to the skies where the next chapter of human achievement is waiting to unfold (and entertain).


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How Women’s representation in FPV shapes the scene

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KalliFPV’s Journey in the Drone Racing World

But is it? 

It was representation and passion that got KalliFPV into FPV Drone Racing, a\nd her ascent in the drone racing world is more than just a personal triumph; it’s a beacon for diversity and inclusion in a space where both are urgently needed.

A Sky Without Limits

Kalli’s journey isn’t just a story of overcoming odds; it’s a narrative that mirrors the ongoing evolution in STEM — a field continuously enriched by the diverse perspectives women bring. Her path from curiosity to competitive racing sums up a broader truth: when given the opportunity, women not only participate but excel and innovate.

Her inspiration? A blend of familial bonds and a natural inclination towards the mechanics of flight. Initially drawn to the sport by her father’s own passion, Kalli quickly transitioned from an observer to a key player.

“Back in 2022…I was like, dad, I really want to get into flying,” 

Kalli recounted, reflecting on the moment her journey took flight in a FuturePlay Interview. It’s a testament to the power of mentorship and representation. Seeing someone you identify with succeeding can sometimes be all the push you need to get on a similar path.

The Simulator as a Springboard

Kalli’s rigorous dedication to mastering her craft through simulators — a digital proving ground where countless hours are spent refining skills — highlights an essential message about the importance of accessible resources in fostering talent. 

“Most of my practicing I did on simulators. I practiced at least five hours a week,” she shared. 

This statement not only showcases her dedication but also underlines the role of technology in democratising fields like drone racing, making them more accessible to diverse groups.

Breaking Barriers and Building Community

Kalli’s decision to join the all-girls team Mach1 is a vibrant illustration of the changing landscape of drone racing — a world becoming increasingly inclusive. 

“Of course, an all-girls team, of course, I’ll join it,” 

She enthusiastically remarked, underlining the significance of finding a community where she felt represented and supported. Here, Kalli’s narrative intertwines with the larger discourse on the importance of community in breaking down barriers and fostering a sense of belonging.

A New Horizon

KalliFPV is more than a competitor; she’s a symbol of change in the aerial arenas of drone racing and beyond. Her story is a powerful reminder that with passion, mentorship, and access to the right resources, the sky is not the limit but the beginning.

In sharing KalliFPV’s journey, we not only celebrate her achievements but also ignite a conversation about the future of women in STEM and sports. It’s a discussion about the potential that lies in empowering young women to explore, to create, and to dream without limits.

As KalliFPV continues to fly, her content serves as an inspiration — to young girls who look up at the sky and see not a limit, but a vast expanse of possibilities. It’s a call to the community, to mentors, and to organisations to invest in these dreams, to nurture these ambitions, and to watch as they take flight, transforming our world in the process.

What are your thoughts about the representation in sports and scientific fields? 
If you want to watch the entire interview with Kalli – be sure to follow us on YouTube

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Athletes meet Technology — Machina Sports

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Humans as a species are reaching the peak of what we can physically do.

Many of the world records in athletics have been broken more than 10 or even 20 years ago (with obvious exemptions). The sports that we are watching today haven’t really changed in decades. Many of the team sports started to be more of a mind game than an athletic achievement. But is there anything new that we can get excited about?

Yes, a whole range of Machina Sports.

What on earth is that?

Simply put Machina Sports are all types of sports that include a human and a machine. 

In a more detailed explanation: Machina Sports are the disciplines that combine the power of athletes and their machines into a brand new category of sport. Examples? FPV Drone Racing, Jetsuit racing, Autonomous car racing, Robot Wars, Flying Car Racing, and more. Many of those sports include athletes that need to push the boundaries of what is physically possible, with an extension of their athletic capabilities (drones, a flying car, jetsuit, and more). 

Those athletes create new categories of sport and become the trailblazers of the future athletes. 

Human meets Tech — but how is this athletic?

We are not talking about esports here.

Let’s look at an example of Jetsuit Racing: The First In The World Jetsuit Racing Champion — Issa Kalfon used to be a gymnast. While gymnastics are considered “a normal sport” the fact that his body was capable of performing within the requirements set by the Gravity.co owner were the deciding factor on his involvement with the project in the first place. 

We tried the Jetsuit — it was hard (here’s a video you can laugh at)

Flying one of those machines requires enormous core strength, arm and shoulder strength, and precise control over small muscle movements. Athletic capabilities connected with an extension of one’s body — the jetsuit itself. The race changes from an athletic power only into athletic power and machine’s possibilities. 

Now isn’t that exciting?

Let’s add some drama to the mix…

When we watch athletes struggle to take the win in single sports — it’s all up to them.

When we watch athletes in team sports — the most drama we can get is what happens between the athletes.

In Machina sports we watch athletes fighting themselves, their opponents, and their own machines. 

Things don’t always go as planned. During The First Jetsuit Race in Dubai one of the pilots experienced an engine failure and ended up in the water. In FPV Drone Racing midair collision, as well as gear failures and crashes happen constantly. In Flying Car Racing the athletes fight their machines that sometimes become moody (as experimental aircraft usually does). This adds an extra layer of drama and stress on the athletes, that get onto a full rollercoaster of emotions during each of the races.

And more fun to the viewers. 

It takes a special kind of “crazy” to get into Machina Sports

People like watching other people — this is why we have social media. 

It takes a special kind of an athlete to get into any type of the raising Machina Sports category. People, who aim for more and want to be pioneers of the new sports, which obviously means “to deal with all the problems associated with it”. 

While most of the Machina sports are not yet considered “Mainstream” — FPV Drone Racing starts to take their leading position in the queue of greatness. Thanks to leagues such as MultiGP, Drone Champions League, and Drone Racing League, this perfect mix of esports and racing has been taking its rightfull place among the biggest sporting events all around the world. Including the world games. 

And the athletes are not bothered by constant drone repairs. 

Isn’t that crazy? 

Have you ever heard of Machina Sports? And after reading this article — which one is your favourite? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to leave us a follow if you want to learn more about Machina Sports and the athletes involved!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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