Israeli robot soccer players put best foot forward

Israel to take on Iran in the upcoming RoboCup 2009 soccer tournament.

June 28, 2009 23:15
2 minute read.
Israeli robot soccer players put best foot forward

robots 248.88. (photo credit: Courtesy)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


For the first time, Israel is sending a delegation to the RoboCup 2009 soccer tournament, which begins Monday in Graz, Austria. In this tournament, the 25 teams have only three players, the players are all autonomous robots and the ultimate goal is to promote research and development in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence. RoboCup and its accompanying conferences have become an annual event since their inception in 1997. The Israeli delegation is participating in the RoboCup's standard platform league tournament, which is generally for graduate students and professors from leading universities worldwide. Though they've not been drawn against each other, Iran is another of the participating countries. "Maybe people don't think of Israel when they think of robotics," said Gal Kaminka, the head of the Israeli team and an associate professor at Bar-Ilan University's Department of Computer Science. "But maybe they should." RoboCup's aim is to use soccer and other athletic activities as a means to advance humanoid robotics - the types of robots that resemble humans and can assist with human activities, such as household tasks, said Kaminka. Each country has a team of three robots - two players and a goalie - each of which is half a meter high. To ensure that the teams begin on even footing, the delegations used identical robots from one manufacturer. It was then up to the individual teams to customize their robots' software. "It really becomes a brain competition - who can program the best brain," Kaminka explained to The Jerusalem Post in a phone interview from Austria. The Israeli team's human element comprises nine graduate students, programmers and researchers, including Kaminka, who specializes in artificial intelligence, robotics and applied philosophy, and Dr. Eli Kolberg of the university's School of Engineering. The team's members have been running their robots through multiple scenarios round-the-clock for the past few months. Development in a situation like this is unique because it demands more than just programming genius - it also demands teamwork. "If you have a better vision or walking algorithm, that doesn't automatically make you a better team," said Kaminka. "The challenge is to put everything together." Kaminka anticipates that based on programming advances made by RoboCup delegations, robots will be used relatively soon in search-and-rescue missions and for domestic chores. Even though, as first time participants, the Israeli team is not likely to win, being part of the competition itself is a big step, Kaminka said. "It is a milestone for Israel, in terms of showing that we're on the map," he said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

[illustrative photo]
September 24, 2011
Diabetes may significantly increase risk of dementia