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Philips enters FIRA World Cup 2002

As the world's greatest human football players touch down in Japan and Korea, the world's most athletic robots are polishing their boots too.

Dutch electronics giant Philips has announced it will participate in the FIRA World Cup 2002 robot football tournament. Philips' medium sized entry is heading to Fukoka, Japan, where the prestigious event is to be held, having narrowly achieved a victory over the reigning world champion from Germany at the unofficial European championship held in April.

Philips' Cyber Football Team (CFT) is up against 25 teams, representing among them some of the world's most sophisticated autonomous robots. The robot team members will communicate with each other during the course of the match via wireless Ethernet.

The technology utilised in the development of the Philips team includes kinematics, which enables the robots 360o movement around the field, and color recognition technology, by which the robots are empowered to 'see' the orange ball and direct it towards the coloured goals.

But this is not mere high-tech fun: ultimately, it is hoped that these innovations may be incorporated into Philips' industrial robotics products and possibly even commercial applications.

For example, data from software camera inputs located within the robots could provide instant information regarding player positioning, ball speed etc. By mapping this information, coaches of the future may be able to evaluate a match and make game decisions utilising these revolutionary means.

"Philips has a long-standing relationship with soccer and is continuously committed to enhancing the soccer experience through development and adaptation of new technology," said Frans van der Schoot, marketing manager of Philips Center for Technology.

"Soccer now in return provides Philips with a standard testing area for research that can direct and speed up the development of new technology."

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