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Can robots do sport?

Robots fencing

Can robots do sport? The best computer has beaten the best human at chess of course, but that's a mental sport and that's what computers are good at. What about physical sports? In fact they can and there is even a Robot World Cup, where teams of robot builders and programmers try to create the world's best robot players - not only of individuals but also working in teams.

Ahmed Mohammed, when a student at Queen Mary, supervised by Peter McOwan, looked at another sport - fencing. As his final year project he built two robots who fenced with each other. One robot was controlled by a flexible exoskeleton that Ahmed built to convert his own arm movements into movements in the robot. The second robot was controlled by artificial intelligence: its skills in fencing were created by obtaining 'know how' from experts on the college Fencing team and building a set of rules for the robot to follow allowing it to react to the attacking robot in a human like way.