The World Cup may be two years away, but soccer fans can get an early start when the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and RoboCup Federation host Nanogram 2009 international nanosoccer contest next summer.
Nanosoccer -- a competition where computer-driven "nanobots" the size of dust mites challenge one another on fields no bigger than a grain of rice -- will be part of the RoboCup games in Graz, Austria, from June 29-July 5, 2009. NIST is accepting applications for organizations wishing to field robots in the events.
Viewed under a microscope, the soccer nanobots are operated by remote control and move in response to changing magnetic fields or electrical signals transmitted across the microchip arena. "Nanoscale" refers to their mass. The bots are a few tens of micrometers to a few hundred micrometers long, but their masses range from only a few nanograms to a few hundred nanograms. They are manufactured from materials such as aluminum, nickel, gold, silicon, and chromium.
Rules for the competition are now available. Teams wishing to compete in Austria must submit their application materials by December 31, 2008.