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China plans for humanoid Olympics

6 November 09 10:50 GMT

China is planning to hold a robot Olympics in 2010.

The international event will be held in the city of Harbin and will see robots take part in 16 different events.

Robots will be able to compete in familiar Olympic sports such as athletics as well as those more suited to machines such as cleaning.

Entry to the competition will be restricted to robots resembling humans. They must possess two arms and legs. Wheels are banned.

The organisers of the games expect from more than 100 universities from around the world to send competitors to the event.

Harbin has been picked as the venue because the city's Institute of Technology is the home of a robot football research group that manages a very successful team of soccer playing humanoids.

Professor Hong Rongbing, from the Harbin Institute of Technology, said the idea of the competition was to drive innovation and produce robots that are more flexible and helpful.

No specific date has been set for the games as its organisers are still rounding up sponsors to help pay for it.

The Chinese event will face competition from the RoboGames that also stages sports events for robots. The 2010 RoboGames will take in California in April.

The Harbin robot games will be one among an increasingly crowded calendar for robot sports and other competitive events. One event, Roboexotica, is for robots that can mix cocktails, light cigarettes and chat with bar patrons.

Robots already have their own world cup. The 2009 competition saw entries from 400 teams that hailed from 35 separate nations. The 2010 event will be held in June in Singapore. A rival event is run by the Federation of International Robot-Soccer Associations.

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