RoboCup is an international robotics competition held annually, first founded in 1997. The goal first and foremost is to promote robotics and AI research — and to do so, they decided to make the competition something that is publicly appealing — Why not one of the most popular sports around? The official goal of the project is to have a team of autonomous humanoid based robot players beat the most recent winning team of the World Cup, complying with the official rules of FIFA. This year, the RoboCup coincided with the real World Cup, and was hosted in Brazil.
There are several categories in RoboCup with various types of robots, and the mid-size team did pretty well this year.
Arguably, this is the most exciting game of all, because it gives a sense of what the current state-of-the-art in robotic soccer is, and how it stacks up to a team of moderately talented squishy bipeds.
We guess that’s a nice way of saying “non-professional soccer players”. Regardless though, they SCORED!
[Eric] built this robot for the 2009 Robocup Jr. competition. The game ball has IR LEDs inside of it and this little bot uses eight IR detectors for tracking. Four motors mounted perpendicular to each other provide locomotion. Since this would normally have you traveling in circles, he used some omnidirectional wheels walled Transwheels. As you can see, they have small rollers built-in and allow movement in any direction if the motors work together. A couple of L298 controller chips handle the motors. [Eric] wrote a program to calculate the PWM necessary to drive the controllers and to coordinate movement of the wheels.
[Erik] and [Heni] have been using soccer as a way to improve code development techniques in robotics. Their soccer playing robots won first prize in the development competition at the 2007 RoboCup competition. They are using a teaching method they call Kinesthetic Bootstrapping to program the motions of the Bioloid robotic platform. The robots are moved by hand and those motions are recorded twenty times per second. The recorded data is then optimized in software and ready for playback in the robot.
After the break you’ll see a video of the robots playing soccer against each other. They receive commands from a computer via zig-bee with Nintendo Wii remotes as the user interface. That’s all fine and dandy, but perhaps you should try your own hand at a game. [Erik] and [Heni] developed a web interface that allows you to control the bots over the internet. We tried it out yesterday and had quite a bit of fun. We set the video stream to “Spectator” and “Jpeg Server Push” to get an image. You’ll have to wait until next week to play because the bots need someone to pick then up when they fall over. Live play is scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-6pm GMT+2. That should give you plenty of time to program your Arduino to say “Gooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllll!!!” when you score. Continue reading “Score online with robot soccer”→
[tioguerra] helped make these tiny bots for the World Robocup 2008 in china. There’s tons of information on the Mixed Reality forum, but you might be specifically interested in the bot section. There are breakdowns of different aspects, such as charging and IR communication, as well as some great photographs of the unit along with a smaller one. The construction of the robot seems so nicely fit together, someone spent a lot of time getting the design just right. Since we don’t see a new section for 2009 bots, we are guessing that they’ll use this design again.
Medgadget recently published a post about a soccer competition for nanobots at RoboCup. The nanobots compete on a field that measures 1500 by 2500 micrometers with goals on the long sides jutting 500 micrometers out. Like normal soccer athletes, the nanobot teams attempt to push the ball – in this case, a silicon dioxide disc with a 50 micrometer diameter – into the goal. The nanobot competitors are monitored by an optical microscope and are remotely controlled by magnetic signals sent across the arena.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and RoboCup have already held two nanobot competitions in the last year. Nanobots made by different teams from various universities compete to test various abilities that will be critical for their practical applications in medicine, manufacturing, and other industries.
Though it is referred to as nanosoccer, the competition is actually a triathlon. The bots must sprint to the goal with the ball in one event, then maneuver the ball around stationary “defenders” and into the goal in the next event, and finally score as many goals as possible within 3 minutes. NIST and RoboCup hope to show the practical potential of nanobots with this competition and have a little fun in the process.