The video: We know robots can cook, walk dogs, and even win Jeopardy!, but they can also entertain us with a "riveting" game of soccer. The 2011 Robotic World Cup — or RoboCup — took place this week in Istanbul, and teams from all over the world came to pit their futuristic creations against one another. The goal is the simple: Get the ball to the back of the net. This year's runaway winner was Team RoMeLa from Virginia Tech, whose adult-sized CHARLI-L2 beat Singapore's Robo Erectus 1-0 with a penalty kick that brought onlookers to their feet (watch the video below). The RoboCup, which has been running since 1997, aims to create a team of robots that can compete effectively against humans by the year 2050.
The reaction: "Why watch real people exert energy playing sports when you can just watch robots do it!?" says Lydia Leavitt at TG Daily. They are as slow as snails, but at least they never complain or call penalties. Anyone worried about a robot apocalypse can relax, says Ben Rooney at The Wall Street Journal. "If the footage is anything to go by ... the gulf between science fiction and science fact has never been wider." Okay, so maybe the plan for a 2050 robot team is "a tad ambitious," says Mark Brown at Wired. But every year these robots "get a little faster, a little smarter, and a little steadier on their feet." Check out the games below: