Hatfield’s robot footballers in international action

The University of Hertfordshire's Bold Hearts robot football team scoring a goal

The University of Hertfordshire's Bold Hearts robot football team scoring a goal - Credit: Archant

A team of robot footballers from Hatfield is in Germany, doing battle with rival squads from all over the world.

Bold Hearts, a team assembled by the University of Hertfordshire. is competing in the RoboCup 2016, which kicked off in Stuuttgart on June 30, and ends today.

Bold Hearts, the oldest and most successful robot team in Britain, consists of miniature humanoid robots with names from Arthurian legend.

Designed by Dr Daniel Polani, the university’s professor of artificial intelligence, they can tackle, shoot, pass, and even pick themselves up after falls.

They are not remote controlled, but are programmed to make decisions in response to game situations.


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The team was founded in 2002, but is continually improved, for instance improving balance and shape recognition since last year.

The professor said: ““Machines have already beaten humans at the challenge of games such as chess and recently, go. Since humans no longer pose a challenge for computers at cerebral games, the final frontier in games may turn out to be, after all, football.

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“Intelligence is so much more than brain power – it’s an enormous challenge to make the minds and bodies of the robots work together in a smooth fashion.

“The future is also increasingly going to see us naturally embracing robots into our social interactions.”

The competition features about 500 teams from more than 40 nations.

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