South Korea will be staging robot taekwondo battles this October at the Korea International Robot Technology Exhibition and Conference in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province.

The battles will pit two programmed robots against each other in a bloodless match designed to demonstrate and promote the art of taekwondo. The robots will react with programmed thrusts, jabs and kicks depending on what their sensors detect.

“They would fight each other based on their embedded sensors, which help predict assaults and attacks by its opponents,” said a member of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), which is the group responsible for sponsoring the event.

The MKE will provide the robots, while university students will be charged with programming them. Obviously, the robots will not initially perform as well as human taekwondo challengers, but Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) researcher Roh Sung-su guarantees that their performance “will improve” in due time.

What will remain the same, however, are the rules. “A game is composed of three rounds lasting nine minutes with three referees to oversee the bout,” said Roh. Whosever robot garners the greatest number of points will take the win.

Also included at the conference are nine other competitions that according to Korea Times will involve “humanoids, robotic football matches, rovers as a variety of combat machines.”

Interested parties who read Korean may register at Robot114. There is over 147,000 USD worth of prizes at stake, so if you don’t read, write or speak Korean, I suggest you start learning right away!

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V Saxena
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