Pay attention, England: This robot has grit. This robot has determination. This robot is not getting paid anything, and is just playing for the love of the game (or maybe because it’s programmed to). But most importantly, this robot takes a dive at 30 seconds in and then gets right back up again.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
This robot is DARwin, from Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa). More specifically, this is DARwin-LC (where the LC stands for “low cost”) which made its debut at RoboCup 2010 in Singapore last week. There’s also a DARwin-HP, where HP means “high performance,” implying more expensive servos and sensors. The basic idea is to make DARwin-LC cheap (on the humanoid robot scale), with DARwin-HP out there as an option if you need the extra power and precision.
DARwin is being developed on a National Science Foundation grant specifically to make robotics research, education, and outreach more accessible (read: affordable). As you might expect, the grant goes on to say:
The research results from the humanoid-robotics community will find applications in assistive robotics technology for the elderly, intelligent humanoids, and homeland security and the military.
Today, they play soccer. Tomorrow, they learn how to do community service and (sometimes) be destructive.
Yep, just like professional soccer players. Wonderful.