Soccer-playing robots step out from screens

For the younger generation, the act of gaming is associated with computer games, but there was a time when games were anything but digital. Elder readers may recall spending their childhood playing popular board games like Monopoly or spending time with friends as a young adult in bars, playing pool or darts.
Now that many games have become digital, however, the normal platform has become PCs or game consoles, but one game maker recently released a game that brings back the analog features of game-playing.
Remember foosball ― the table-top football game with plastic soccer players skewered on steel prongs like shish kebabs?
A popular game often seen in arcade rooms or bars, the table is shaped like a shallow tub, with figurines of soccer players hanging on steel rods. By turning handles attached to the ends of the rods, players can move the figures from side to side and swivel them so that they rock back and forth, and kick a little ping-pong-like ball towards the goals at either end.
Improving on this classic game, IR Robot, a local robot and robot game developer, has created what it calls a “Battle Robot Football Game Machine.” In a sense, this game is much like a computer game, because joysticks are used to maneuver small robots inside the small “soccer field.” However, unlike computer games, the field is three-dimensional, the robots are real, and there are no screens.
The game can be played by two to four players. The robots can move forward, backward, left and right, turn 360 degrees, and kick the ball. The field itself is equipped with a special power-supply system, for which the developer holds a patent, so there is no worry about the robots running out of batteries during the game.
The real-life rules of soccer are also applied to some extent. For instance, if a robot crashes into a robot from the other team, it will receive a penalty, because sensors on the robots will detect the collision.
Although the robots are controlled by human beings, they do have a certain level of artificial intelligence, and when they score a goal, the robots on the scoring side celebrate while the opposite team’s robots show disappointment.

by Wohn Dong-hee for JoongAng Daily


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