As World Cup action heated up in South Africa, Pele was making his own piece of football history in Singapore. Slicing the ball past the goalkeeper in the dying seconds of the match, Pele scored the match-winning goal in the finals of RoboCup 2010, an annual international robotics tournament.
The legendary Brazilian soccer maestro was represented by a humanoid-shaped silver Robo-Pele, the National University of Singapore (NUS) entry into the competition where automatons instead of human players vie for footballing glory.
Organised by the Swiss-based robotics initiative RoboCup Federation, a non-profit group, the June 19-25 tournament was held in Singapore for the first time since its inception in 1997. Istanbul will host the event next year. Organisers hope the yearly tournament will advance artificial intelligence and robotics research.
The Singapore tournament featured everything from pint-sized androids to 1.3 metre tall robots pitting their skills on the pitch. More than 500 teams, including those from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, from 43 countries had their mechanical constructs duke it out in various, size-differentiated leagues.