China announced late yesterday that it is planning a Robot Olympiad of their own for June 2010, and only bipedal humanoid robots will be allowed (in a somewhat bizarre twist even wheeled robots will be barred, which will limit admissions to mostly hobby-sized ones). Still, organizers expect more than 100 universities from at least 20 countries will participate.
Events will include combat, dancing, and track and field as well as domestic service and medical care. As usual, the competition is really about pushing robotics technology forward in the hopes that someday they might serve as useful partners in our lives.
The news comes less than a month after a “robot” lit the main torch during the opening ceremonies at China’s 10th National Games in Nanjing’s Olympic Sports Center on October 12th, 2009. The trend continued just a week later when, at South Korea’s 90th National Games, KAIST’s HUBO 2 lit the ceremonial torch.