I almost feel sorry for the kids doing Rescue in Robocup Junior. Like firemen they have a tough, technical task that goes unrewarded compared to the high-profile actors and sportspeople.
The Dance groups have rocking music and cool costumes to grab the attention. The Soccer group has the tension of a win-lose game. The Rescue teams just have to do the thankless hard-lifting of rescuing a marooned Coke can.
I actually really like watching the Rescue teams. The programming is entirely evident in what they do. There’s great skill in Dance and that and more in Soccer, but the Rescue is a straight it either works or it doesn’t. You can’t fudge it with the show or have an accidental goal – either your bot follows the line through the maze and pushes the can out of the danger zone or it does not.
Really every part of Robocup is engaging and impressive. The effort put in by the kids is just inspiring. The enthusiasm and excitement at the NSW Open competition today is absolutely enthralling. These are a new generation of engineers, roboticists and general geeks and it can’t help but warm the heart to see them in action.