Robot goalie too good for Germany star

STUTTGART - A robotic goalkeeper is better than human keepers in Germany's football Bundesliga, its inventors boasted on Monday as they demonstrated the computer-controlled device Goalias to the media.

STUTTGART - A robotic goalkeeper is better than human keepers in Germany's football Bundesliga, its inventors boasted on Monday as they demonstrated the computer-controlled device Goalias to the media.

Players from First Division side VfB Stuttgart, including Germany team player Mario Gomez, tried last week to outwit Goalias, shooting indoors at a full-size goalmouth from 11 metres out. Scientists have since fine-tuned Goalias.

"We'd say now that Goalias can hold every second kick from Mario Gomez," said Peter Goehner, director of the Stuttgart University automation institute (IAS), which built Goalias and has invited the Germany women's side to try to beat it on May 22.

The robot uses three video cameras to calculate the ball's trajectory and move a plastic keeper figure on a rail left or right to block it, all within 400 milliseconds.

Goehner revealed Goalias' weak point: it could still be fooled by some hard curving shots with plenty of spin.

The robot project was devised to appeal to teenagers and encourage them to study engineering in Stuttgart. - Sapa-DPA

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