Do Androids Dream of Electric World Cup Victories?

(this post courtesy VOA’s Urdu Service)

Pakistan doesn’t have a team competing in the 2014 World Cup, which opened today in Brazil. In fact, football is often an afterthought in the cricket-mad country.

(SPOT QUIZ: When was the last time that the Pakistan national team qualified for the tournament? Answer at the end of this post)

But that’s not stopping a group of Pakistani university engineering students, from putting their mental and physical energy into a different sort of World Cup.

Students of Pakistan’s Center for Advance Studies in Engineering are angling to compete in the 2014 Robo Cup, to take place in Brazil on the sidelines of the actual football tournament.

Vice Chancellor Shaukat Hameed Khan told VOA’s Urdu Service that the purpose of the competition is to develop teams of football-capable robots to play against human beings, possibly by 2050.

“When Pakistan’s team played in the Street Child World Cup this year, it had a positive impact. Now, our national team could not go but if our robots go, it will be good for the future of soccer in Pakistan.”

Each robot cost about 400,000 rupees ($4,000), paid largely by the students themselves. Unfortunately Pakistan’s government has refused to pay the cost of the trip, so Khan said he is seeking help from the private sector.

Check out what the World Cup of the future may end up looking like:

(SPOT QUIZ ANSWER: Pakistan has never competed in the World Cup, though the Pakistani Football Federation is making serious investments in the sport that may pay off in coming years)