The Socceroos may be out of the World Cup but Australia has done itself proud on the soccer pitch in another international competition.
The UNSW robot soccer team has made it to the grand final of RoboCup 2010, the world's toughest test of android ability - only to be knocked out by a team from Germany.
The rUNSWift team, from the School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW, progressed easily to the finals against teams from universities worldwide at the three-a-side event held in Singapore from June 19 to June 24.
After defeating Carnegie-Mellon University 6-0 in the semi-final, UNSW lost 6-1 to Germany's University of Bremen in the grand final.
UNSW team leader, Associate Professor Maurice Pagnucco, said developing coding which enabled the robots to move quickly was a key advantage but getting through to the showdown against Germany wasn't without casualties.
"In the finals there was a very strong burning smell coming from one of the robots - we had to sub that guy off," he said.
rUNSWift beat teams including Israel's Bar-Ilan University and Germany's TU Dortmund. It was also the only Australian team out of three - the University of Newcastle and the University of Technology, Sydney also competed - to advance past the initial rounds.
The rUNSWift team did come away as the world's best in the Challenge category for robot ability.
In the separate RoboCup Rescue competition, which tests disaster response robot capabilities, UNSW's Team CASualty recorded a clear victory, taking out the award for Best Autonomous Robot for the second year running.
CASualty also won the Mobility Challenge, which challenges robots' abilities to cover rough terrain, and set a new record in the process.
CASualty team leader Professor Claude Sammut said the team members worked together to produce outstanding performances.
"This year we introduced autonomous victim identification. This was done by Tim Wiley who used a combination of laser scanning to find likely victim locations, combined with thermal imaging to confirm the presence of the victim. This was very impressive work," Professor Sammut said.
See video of rUNSWift in action here.
For a full report on Robocup Rescue click here
Media Contact: Associate Professor Maurice Pagnucco | 02 9385 6925 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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