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Forget virtual horse racing in lockdown, the future of sport will use robots as competitors


Robots are becoming increasingly tied to human lives and it’s only a matter of time before sport robotics become popular around the world, claims Bauyrzhan Ospan, a graduate from Nazarbayev University’s Robotics and Mechatronics Department.

Bauyrzhan studied a BA Sc. in Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering and is now the CEO of Qmobot, an e-learning company which help students and adults gain crucial knowledge and skills in IT, Internet of Things, and robotics in order to expand their opportunities.

Qmobot has partnered with Nazarbayev University to create the ‘SumoBot’ tournament to promote sports robotics among students. Teams compete for cash prizes and the opportunity to represent their university in the Republican Champion Finals; a country-level SumoBot tournament. They receive a month training from professional roboticists on how to develop an algorithm for their robot which will allow their robot to move on its own without remote control. The robots then ‘duel’ each other and attempt to push their opponent out of the arena ring, like in an actual Sumo fight.

Bauyrzhan says: “Robotics competitions have sufficient requirements to be defined as a sport; physical and mental commitment, constant training, and the adherence to certain rules. They also improve skills and provide entertainment. There are already many famous international Robotics competitions, including World Robot Olympiad, RoboRAVE International, and the RoboGames, which involve soccer, racing, and combat-sport.”

Bauyrzhan continues: “Human health and safety are priceless, which puts huge limitations on what a sport competitor can perform without harmful consequences: we want to participate in and observe physically strenuous sports, without the risk of physical harm. Robots, on the other hand, do not have such limitations and can participate and perform in ways humans can’t.”

The Qmobot team believe that the only way to change the world is to change education; they want young people and adults to be prepared for the rapidly changing environment of education and careers as robotization and automation become more prevalent. SumoBot is one of the steps on the way to achieving this.

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