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Man vs Machine - rugby goal kicking competition


Man vs Machine - rugby goal kicking competition

Venue: Victoria Park, Auckland

Date: 10 October at 10:00am (kick off at 10:30am)


In a Man versus Machine challenge, legendary former All Black Andrew Mehrtens will test his goal-kicking mettle in a contest against robots that have been engineered to kick a rugby ball.

The challenge given to Massey University and the University of Canterbury was to develop a robot that could out-kick a human. The machines are a world-first. Machines used to test rugby balls have been developed, but never to this extent. The robots are a prime example of innovative technologies designed and engineered by New Zealand engineers.

5 months and hundreds of man-hours later, the robots are in the final stages of testing and are ready to face their human opponents. See this link here to see one of the robots in action.

There will be three robots competing: One from Massey University in Albany, one from Massey University in Palmerston North and one from Canterbury University.

The event will take on the format of converting tries. A mark will be placed at certain distances from the centre of the posts and the kicker will be able to choose how far from try line the ball is placed in line with the mark. The winner will be the one that converts the most times.

The robots will also attempt to 'out drop-kick' their human competitors.

Gilbert rugby balls used during the event will be given away to children. Ian Savage, Gilbert's head ball engineer/designer (UK-based) will also be present.

New Zealand pneumatics company SMC has also been involved in supplying parts for the robots.

The event is organised by NZICT and Massey University and is part of the Rutherford Innovation Showcase. Other partners include NZ2011 Office, Ministry of Science and Innovation, NZ Trade and Enterprise, ATEED.

The challenge is a warm-up to the inaugural Schools' Robotics World Cup at The Cloud on Queen's Wharf from October 11 to 13.

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