The Robocup US Open has taken place at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in which students from universities around the world competed in events ranging from robot dog soccer to search-and-rescue operations.
RoboCup is an international project designed to promote research in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics and computational perception.
The competition sets researchers a range of problems that require the development of robots able to understand events, plan, cooperate and take action.
The contest comprises five events, four of which are football based, with the final one a search and rescue. The organisers believe football games provide researchers with a convenient testing environment for the robots.
One of the games at the cup, which took place last week, involved Segway-riding humans playing with robotic Segway team-mates in a two-on-two competition, while another was computer-simulated soccer.
But the main event proved to be robot dog soccer, which consisted of two teams of four computer-programmed Sony Aibos.
Programmers from each team installed their own software to enable the dogs to search for the ball using cameras in their noses, chase it, communicate with each other wirelessly and ultimately try to get the apple-sized ball into the back of the net.
For a team to take part in the competition it must develop and incorporate various technologies, including autonomous agents, real-time planning and control, robotics and sensor fusion.
The RoboCup US Open is a regional event held every year to support RoboCup research in the Americas. A world event, RoboCup 2005, is being held in Osaka, Japan from 13 to 19 July, with 280 teams participating and approximately 200,000 visitors expected.
The ultimate aim of the RoboCup initiative is to develop software for robots to take to the field and, complying with FIFA rules, beat the winners of the most recent human World Cup by 2050.