Move over NUbots, the NUManoids are the new world champions.
In recent years, the University of Newcastle has achieved international success with its soccer-playing robotic dogs, the NUbots. With Sony discontinuing manufacture of the four-legged robots, a new avenue had to be found for the computer programming geniuses behind the NUbots.
To continue the cutting-edge research, Newcastle entered the new Standard Platform League, a two-legged version of the robotics soccer world cup.
The new League featured the recently released Aldebaran Nao robots and only the 16 most experienced teams from around the world were given access to the hardware. Teams played for 10-minute halves in the knockout 2008 RoboCup competition in China, and the NUManoids were declared champions.
Newcastle was one of only two Australian teams invited to compete. They teamed up with the National University of Ireland to form the NUManoids. Two Aldebaran Nao robots were programmed in Newcastle, the other two in Ireland.
The victorious NUManoids contingent consisted of staff and students from the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, each a leading researcher in their field.
Newcastle PhD student Naomi Henderson said the research involved more than just programming robots to play an intricate game of football; the complex software being developed could be directly applied to the design of robots for the future.
"These new robots have presented a number of challenging research tasks and provided an indication of the direction robotics research will take in the next two to five years.
"The ultimate aim is to develop and program robots to support humans with routine, as well as dangerous and expert tasks. By 2050, we believe robots will be advanced enough to play competitively against the leading football team in the world."