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RoboWorldCup 2012: British Teams Compete In Mechanical Olympiad (PICTURES)

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The summer's biggest sports event has begun - at last.

No, not the Olympics, the Paralympics or the start of the football season: the FIRA RoboWorld Cup.

That's right - the world's most prestigious sporting tournament for mechanical beings.

This year - for the first time - the FIRA RoboWorld Cup is being held in the UK. After bidding to host the event, Bristol and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory won the chance to host the plenet's greatest robotic athletes.

Twenty-seven teams will compete in climbing, weightlifting, football, sprinting and a marathon, and the contest will include British teams for the first time.

The At-Bristol centre said that the humanoid robots involved in football, basketball, wall climbing, weightlifting and marathon running can be up to 130cm in height and weigh up to 30kg.

Representing the UK are teams from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and the University of Plymouth.

Other competitors have travelled from Brazil, Canada, China and India to test their robots against the best in the world. In all 202 participants will be involved.

The contest was founded in 1996, and Dr Guido Herrmann, from the University of Bristol, said it will prove a draw for tourists:

"We are looking forward to welcoming teams from around the world to Bristol. The competition promises to be both exciting and insightful, pushing the boundaries of robotics to the limit.

"This will be a fantastic opportunity for the public to see just what autonomous robots are capable of. Although very different to the Olympics, it's another opportunity to show the world just what Great Britain is capable of - both as event hosts and being pioneers of engineering."

The competition lasts until the 25 August and members of the public are welcome to attend.

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