At every live football game and in every pub around the world, someone exasperated fan watching the world game will yell: “even I could have beaten that goalie." But try beating this goal-keeper. He has the reflexes of a computerized cat. Cameras capture the ball and its movements and direct the ‘keeper' to make an interception. If you can’t spear the ball into the top corners of the net, you don’t have a chance. Apart from a skill developer, the Robokeeper is also a lot of fun. And he’s for hire.
He’s been in development for a while – ever since the Soccer World Championship in 2006 when Prof Dr Michael ten Hompel, leader of the Fraunhofer-Institut für Materialfluss und Logistik (IML) in Dortmund, and his team got the idea to build the world’s best goalie.
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They say the RoboKeeper can outperform every goal-keeper in the Champions League (as long as the teams play on his turf). But he has an unfair advantage. Two cameras recognize the complete ballistic curve of the ball and transmit its position to an image processing computer every 1/50 second. Combining the images from each camera produces a 3D position of the ball. Data is then sent to the motor control driving a high-tech and extremely robust aircraft gearbox which moves the RoboKeeper to the exact point of impact in under half a second. This high-performance technology enables the 'keeper' to deflect just about any ball and keep his record intact.
What’s more, he’s fearless and doesn’t care if the ball hits him in the face (or other sensitive areas) which makes him even harder to beat.
Robokeeper can be hired out for events or training camps but don’t expect to get anything past him.
There are some cool iterations of Robokeeper currently under development including a Wii controller version which lets you direct the 'keeper.
Robokeeper is one of a number of finalists in this year's ISPO BrandNew Award 2010, of which we are profiling a number of entrants.