The founders of the RoboCup competition have a simple, reasonable dream: to build a team of robotic soccer players who'll win the World Cup by 2050. Here's a sample of the finest fútbol-bots from Virginia Tech's Robotics and Mechanics Laboratory.
First up we have the DARwIn robots, DARwIn-OP and DARwIn-4, which were built in junction with UPenn's GRASP Laboratory. Do they have the fitness? For two autonomous robots smaller than ventriloquist dummies, the answer is indubitably "yes." They would have no problem outwitting a team of Roombas or Teddy Ruxpin dolls. To see what level of competitive play the DARwIns will be up against, here are highlights from the 2010 RoboCup finals.
And here's the humanoid CHARLI bot. Standing at an impressive 1.4 meters and clocking walking speeds of 300 millimeters a second, this bad boy belongs to the adult class of robotic soccer competition. In 39 years, we will see his descendants face off on the pitch against an army of genetically modified Wayne Rooney clones.