Robots Are Getting Their Own Sports Tournament And One Bot Is Leading The Pack

A soccer robot named ARTEMIS will compete at the 2023 RoboCup.

By Nathan Kamal | Updated

robot sports
Credit: RoMeLa/UCLA

Robot sports are making huge strides in the world right now and a new, highly advanced humanoid android is preparing to lead the robo-pack. According to Interesting Engineering, a new robot named ARTEMIS is being prepped to compete in the 2023 RoboCup, an annual international robotics competition designed to promote awareness and ingenuity in the field of replacing humans as soccer players. The robot sports field is a burgeoning one (and is better than designing Terminators) and it sounds like ARTEMIS will be an impressive competitor this year. 

ARTEMIS (an acronym for Advanced Robotic Technology for Enhanced Mobility and Improved Stability, which presumably took some workshopping to turn into a cool name) was designed by the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering as an all-purpose humanoid robot. Its current claim to fame is that it was specifically designed for bipedal motion across uneven surfaces, which is to say that it can walk and run over bumpy ground. Obviously, this is a strong asset for competition in the wide world of robot sports.

In even more specificity, ARTEMIS was designed with “excellent balance while walking on uneven terrain and its ability to run — getting both feet off the ground while in motion,” according to UCLA professor Dennis Hong. It was developed with actuators that simulate the springing motion of human muscles, rather than the classic clank-clank we normally associate with a de-skinned Terminator or Star Wars

star wars

According to UCLA, ARTEMIS can walk, run, and even sprint on uneven surfaces, which can undoubtedly be an asset in robot sports events like the RoboCup. Apparently, the robot has been clocked at walking 2.1 meters (or nearly seven feet) per second, which makes it horrifyingly fast by any standard. It is also notable for its muscle-simulating actuators being activated by electricity rather than hydraulics, which are notorious for leaking fluid and causing malfunctions.

Currently, ARTEMIS is undergoing its own version of tryouts for robot sports by regularly walking around the UCLA campus, which probably makes for an interesting sight for the non-robot students. Soon, it will actually get a chance to try out its soccer skills at the university, which hopefully will prompt someone to say, “there’s nothing in the rulebook that says robots can’t play soccer.” 

RoboCup 2023 takes place in July in Bordeaux, France, and has previously been held at locations as wide-flung as Thailand, Australia, and Mexico. There are currently six main areas of competitions, only one of which is actually a form of robot sports. Aside from the soccer league in which ARTEMIS will be competing, there is a division in which robotic applications of rescue techniques are demonstrated, one for personal domestic applications such as housework or home care, one in which simulations of factory work are performed, a logistics division, and, of course, the junior division. 

While there are certainly many worries about the applications of artificial intelligence and robots in every aspect of human life, from sports to religion to killer insects, we have to admit that we are excited to see how ARTEMIS performs this year.