The [Fédération Internationale de Football Association] is joining the growing list of professional sports that is adopting technological means in an attempt to help the human referees. After a botched call in 2010 the organization called for a system that would work day or night, with 100% accuracy and the ability to report to the Refs in less than 1 second. The applicants have been weeded out and it comes down to two systems, both of which use a piece of personal hardware we’re quite familiar with. [Fe80], who sent in the tip, recognized the TI Chronos eZ430 watch in the image above.
The two systems both use the watch as an interface, but work very differently. The first, called GoalRef, uses a sensor suspended inside the ball. This detects a magnetic field made up by the goal posts. We’d guess it’s an inductance sensor that is triggered when it passes a coil in the goal posts (we didn’t find much in the way of technical info so please do your own speculation in the comments). The second system is very familiar. It’s the Hawkeye camera system used by the APT (Tennis) in all the major tournaments.
Being a dedicated father, soccer coach, general tinkerer, and electrical engineer, [Dave] decided to build a soccer simulator video game for his son’s 6th birthday party. The concept behind the game is to put a soccer ball on a tee and have an eager line of six-year-olds kick the ball into the goal. A video of a goalie is projected behind the net, and sensors in the goal will determine if the player scored a goal or not.
The first part of [Dave]’s project was getting footage of a goalie diving for a soccer ball. Luckily, [Dave] is friends with [Mark Macdonald], a former NCAA goalie. After 10 minutes in the park with [Mark] and a 720p camera, [Dave] had all the footage needed to build his video game.
To detect where the soccer ball passed into the goal, [Dave] built a small soccer goal studded with infrared LEDs and infrared beam break sensors. Combined with a small switch underneath the ball tee, the software knows the time of flight and where the ball crossed into the goal. The game processes these two numbers to determine if it’s a goal, or was caught by the retired pro goalie.
The kids at the birthday party lined up to play [Dave]’s soccer game – a huge achievement getting 6-year-olds to wait their turn. We admit that we’d like to have a go at this game, although we’re pretty sure we saw an arcade version of this game years and years ago.
We’re hearing complaints everywhere about the noisemakers called Vuvuzelas during the world cup. Whether you are a fan of the sport or not, you can appreciate when a fellow hacker gets annoyed and start hacking. [Tube] has created a software filter that manages to remove the sound of the Vuvuzela from the videos. He shares the process of how it was all created, using Logic Express and a Mac mini (Google translation). Maybe this will also provide some relief from the constant stream of Vuvuzela whining as well.
[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.
For Kasabian’s new single Underdog, they decided to do something original. After dreaming up a Guitar Hero style controller powered by soccer football players, they set out to make it happen. Using 5 wall mounted pressure sensors connected to a microcontroller, they hooked up the rig to a computer running Frets on Fire (an open source Guitar Hero clone) with a custom version of their single. After an afternoon of practice, the team was able to 5 star the song, and while this isnt the only or most complex Guitar Hero hack, we would love to have this in our house.
[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”→
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.