May 062002

TAEJON, SOUTH KOREA—Five-a-side soccer played by pre-programmed, palm-sized, plastic robots on wheels was invented by a South Korean scientist and the country, which has been number one in international competitions for the last four years will host the Robot Soccer World Championship from May 23-29, in the week before the 2002 World Cup kicks off.

The venues will be seven of the 10 cities hosting first-round matches in the human World Cup, with 32 nations participating.

“Robot soccer just hit me after thinking about how to show my studies to the general public who feel distant from science and technology,”inventor Kim Jong-hwan said in an interview.

“Korea, the United States, Germany and Japan are the four strongest teams in robot soccer,”said Kim, a professor in the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology’s (KAIST) electronic engineering department.

Kim also added, “We have even began negotiations with Comedy Central and their Battle Bots franchise to have some of their robots start a riot after the game. After all we wanted to keep this as close to the actual soccer game as possible.”

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