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September 12, 2011 | by  | in News |
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2050: Robots to Dominate World, Rugby

By 2051, robots will be the winner on the day, Victoria University Associate Professor Dr Ian Yeoman has predicted.

In a press statement released by the university last week, Yeoman claimed that the 2051 Rugby World Cup will feature a significant amount of robotic technology. Players taking to the field will be aided by bionic implants and built-in performance-monitoring chips, and the game will be monitored by robotic referees, linesmen and played with a rugby ball featuring radio frequency chips.

“There’ll be no more blaming the ref.”

Technology such as genetic engineering and advanced implants is already more widely-used in sports than one may realise, argues Yeoman, pointing to South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius’ London Olympics-qualifying carbon fibre prosthetic running blades as an example.

Although a team of half-human, half-robots may seem like the stuff of science-fiction, Yeoman says that the technology necessary to create these super athletes is already under development. “We are already using antimicrobial technology in shoes to keep them clean and prevent athlete’s foot.

“We’re also developing the means to create highly advanced nanobots (microscopic robots) capable of entering the bloodstream to feed cells and extract waste. Humans who have been injected with these nanobots will evolve into cyborgs and would make outstanding athletes.”

From athlete’s foot to cyborgs, these technological developments will also ensure a healthier team and less time on the bench for injured players.

“New therapies will cut recovery times from injury by up to 300 per cent and we can look forward to individualised pre-match drinks and non-invasive injections to optimise energy levels.”

Technology has a few surprises in store for audiences of the game as well.

“TV viewers will enjoy lifelike 3D images in their indoor or outdoor home theatre while for really dedicated fans, the ultimate experience will be staying at a hotel that’s part of the stadium complex.”

For those worried that these technological changes will make the game lose its ‘edge’, Yeoman points out that a number of games—including rugby—are already very popular as computer games.

But Yeoman, a Scotland supporter, is a fan of the game sans-cyborg for now as well. Having purchased tickets to the Scotland vs Argentina match, he’s hoping for a Scotland victory against the All Blacks in the final.

“…but that’s a wish rather than a prediction!”

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