Science Scope

These robots can dance, but can they play soccer?

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Robots gave a ballet-like performance in Shanghai. Also, RoboCup, the robot version of the World Cub, launched this week in Singapore. Watch the videos.

The ballet performance was put on for France Pavilion Day at the Shanghai 2010 Expo. Sure, seeing 20 Nao robots dance to the finale of Ravel's Bolero was cute, but the moves weren't anything like the Macarena or the Electric Slide. They were more "ballet-like."

The 20 Nao robots didn't come cheap. They cost about $250,000 total.

Aldebaran Robotics, the company who created the robotic dance troupe, didn't have to waste time with training the robots to dance in sync, all they had to do was program their moves. Each robot has voice recognition software, so it can listen to English and French commands. And Wi-Fi lets the robots communicate with other robots.

Popular Science claims, "They can even out-perform humans in a pop-and-lock dance."

I'll believe that when I see it.

At RoboCup last year, Nao Robot paid a tribute to Michael Jackson.

This week, Singapore is hosting RoboCup, which is a World Cup for 350 humanoid robot soccer teams. Live and learn, perhaps the French robots should stick with dancing if their soccer skills are anything like their World Cup team.

IEEE Spectrum lists some of the top robo teams set to play. I'm rooting for the Dutch team, based on their video:

Interesting, but I don't think we need the captions. It is clear that the robot "kicks" the ball.

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Boonsri Dickinson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Boonsri Dickinson is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has written for Discover, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Nature Biotech, Technewsdaily.com, Techstartups.com and AOL. She's currently a reporter for Business Insider. She holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure