While most American sports fans were busy celebrating a World Cup victory over Brazil this weekend, an indubitably more compelling soccer tournament was drawing to a close in Istanbul -- site of RoboCup 2011. Virginia Tech's Team DARwin made history at this year's event, becoming the first US squad to bring home top honors in both the Kid Size and Adult Size competitions. The petite DARwin-OP humanoid danced circles around the lightweight class, while the five-foot CHARLI-2 demoralized Robo Erectus in the big boys' final with a last-minute penalty kick. In its international debut, the CHARLI-2 (pictured, in a moment of Zen, on the right) also earned the vaunted Louis Vuitton Humanoid Cup, ending a nine-year period dominated by teams from Germany and Japan. These programmed Peles may not the most graceful of strikers, but RoboCup organizers remain convinced that autonomous bots will be able to compete with human athletes by 2050 -- which might just give us enough time to develop a taste for soccer. Dribble past the break to see Team DARwin in action, along with an extra clip from the BBC.
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