MIT's Dribblebot Can Play Soccer on Different Terrains

MIT’s Improbable Artificial Intelligence Laboratory researchers have designed a robot that can dribble a soccer ball across a handful of different terrains. Titled “Dribblebot,” the four-legged machine isn’t as skillful as Lionel Messi, but it does have enough intelligence and power to dribble a ball across mud, gravel, sand, and snow.

The tech piece is built with a silver body and comes equipped with a camera that rests on its head that is used to detect the soccer ball. A recovery controller is built into its system that allows it to stand back up after taking a fall and switch back into ball-tracking mode.

This latest bot from MIT is fashioned with sensors so the robot can detect when it’s crossing snow versus gravel, and a camera sits on top of the robot’s head so it can locate the soccer ball. “If you look around today, most robots are wheeled. But imagine that there’s a disaster scenario, flooding, or an earthquake, and we want robots to aid humans in the search-and-rescue process. We need the machines to go over terrains that aren’t flat, and wheeled robots can’t traverse those landscapes,” says Pulkit Agrawal, MIT professor, CSAIL principal investigator, and director of Improbable AI Lab. “The whole point of studying legged robots is to go terrains outside the reach of current robotic systems.”

Peep a look at the Dribblebot in the clip above.

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