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Japanese sumo robots in action | Courtesy YouTube
Japanese sumo robots in action | Courtesy YouTube
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Watch the Japanese Robot Sumo Wrestling Taking the Internet by Storm

Picture of Peter Ward
Tech Editor
Updated: 21 June 2017
When robots play sports the results are usually hugely underwhelming, and sometimes hilarious. We’ve all seen the videos of robots tripping over their mechanical feet playing soccer, but the robot version of sumo wrestling is something else entirely, and well worth checking out.

A video compilation, which you can watch below, shows the sport in all its speedy glory. The robots are all automated, which means as soon as the match begins there are no humans controlling them. This explains their lightening quick reactions and rapid movements.

The aim of the game is simple: knock the opposing robot out of the ring. The robots all have pre-programmed behaviors designed to help them do just that. The action usually only lasts a couple of seconds, and can be pretty brutal.

Some of the bots use scoops to pick their opponents up and dump them out of the ring, while others simply use drive and power. Perhaps the most inventive technique seen in the video is the use of wings to herd a sumo bot out of the ring.

Japan is well known for its robots, from Pepper, the humanoid bot capable of displaying emotions and reacting to its surroundings, to hotels run entirely by robots.

If you’re visiting Japan, sumo wrestling is probably high on your list of things to see, but it may be worth stopping by the robotic version as well. To find more details of events check out the All Japan Robot Sumo Tournament website.