In a fitting tribute to the pioneering scientist after whom it was named, Virginia Tech's Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence (DARwIn) has finally "evolved" enough (it's now on the fourth iteration, DARwIn IIb) to compete in the traditional Japanese sport of robot soccer. The VT team -- composed of striker DARwIn IIa and goalie DARwIn I -- will reportedly be the first US competitors in the humanoid division of the popular RoboCup tournament, whose 2007 finals are actually being held right here on American soil in Atlanta. DIIa, the more sophisticated of the Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory's (RoMeLa's) two bots, is built around a LabVIEW-powered 1.4GHz Pentium M with 1GB of RAM, 256KB of flash memory, 23 total actuators, a pair of FireWire cameras, and a gyroscope -- clearly the delicate head-mounted cam was designed before the head-butting ugliness of World Cup 2006. Keep reading to check out a vid of big D in action -- as well as tumbling over -- and then hit up the Read link for more pics, specs, and action-packed soccerbot clips.

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