Not just smart but sporty too – Robots compete in an Olympics of their own

With Olympic fever having died down, wounds licked and celebrations had, the UK turned to games of different kind as twenty-six teams from around the world competed in the FIRA RoboWorld Cup held in Bristol.

This is the first time that the UK has held the ‘Robot Olympics’ and it comes perfectly timed between the Olympics and the Paralympics with home side and tournament favourite Plymouth University expected to take top honours in the sprint against rival Singapore who broke the last record of forty-two seconds, with an impressive time of thirty-one seconds.  Unfortunately this didn’t happen and Plymouth University’s ‘Usain Volt’ lost to Singapore’s Nanyang Polytechnic team.  It’s no hundred metre dash, but the three metre run forward and back was nail-biting and one of the main attractions. Weightlifting records were also smashed with some robots lifting as many as a hundred DVD’s in training (the previous title-holder lifted eighty-nine DVD’s).  Although the main focus of the Games is football, other disciplines like climbing, running and basketball were also included to measure the capabilities of the robots that the organisers say are considered ‘decathletes’, with multiple functionality and versatility.

FIRA Weightlifting contest

FIRA Weightlifting contest –

FIRA football match

FIRA football match –

According to, the only rule of the competition was that the robots should be autonomous – after they have been activated, no human interaction was allowed.  It will be exciting to see how the entering universities use this technology to build robots for more practical purposes.  A life with cooking and cleaning robots previously only seen on The Jetsons cannot be that far away.









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