Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed a robot footballer that could compete with the best players in the world. Dubbed Artemis, the robot has been dubbed “better than Messi”. The robot, which uses “she/her” pronouns, can run, walk and jump, and is equipped with muscles that mimic those in animals, making the robot agile and providing “excellent balance while walking on uneven terrain”. Artemis will make her debut in July, when she competes against robots from around the world in the RoboCup23 tournament.
Robots of all sizes and shapes are invited to the contest, ranging from those that are five inches tall to those the size of adult humans. The robot tournament, which is now in its 30th year, was created with the aim of fostering the development of robots’ football skills so that they can compete with humans by 2050. “We’re very excited to take Artemis out for field testing here at UCLA and we see this as an opportunity to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics to a much wider audience,” said Dennis Hong, director at the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory at UCLA.
Artemis is equipped with springy and stretchy muscles, which are more like those used by real animals than other robots. This flexibility gives Artemis much more agility than comparable robots. Dr Hong said the muscles were “the key behind [Artemis’s] excellent balance while walking on uneven terrain and its ability to run — getting both feet off the ground while in motion”. Other robots to emerge from the UCLA lab include an android named Thor, which was designed to help with disaster relief, and the driving force behind the USA’s victory at RoboCup 2015.