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RoboCup 2003 84

Posted by michael
from the ed-209 dept.
Kylose Boondoggler writes "Sony AIBOs play soccer against each other in the American Open 2003, hosted by Carnegie Mellon University in preparation for RoboCup '03. Teams from all over North and South America (including teams from Georgia Tech, Cornell, and UPenn) will compete in various leagues from soccer-playing AIBO to pure computer simulations. Local newspaper coverage is provided by The Tartan. Honda's ASIMO will also make an appearance along with rescue robots constructed by Carnegie Mellon."
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RoboCup 2003

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  • Intersting.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xtraneous (594376) <Xtraneous.comcast@net> on Sunday May 04, 2003 @01:24PM (#5875066)
    This seems like it would be a pretty fun event to watch. I have had some experience with robotics helping out with high-school students. In my area there is what we call *CCRA.

    * County Compettive Robbotics Association; The students (as teams) got kits of motors, electronics, pnuematics (etc.) to mess around with, and in the end create a working bot to use in a competition!
    • >> This seems like it would be a pretty fun event to watch.

      It was a blast to watch. My team went up to try out some ideas for the Urban Search and Rescue event... nothing worked as well as we had hoped, there were lots of networking problems and our software wasn't quite done... but we learned a whole lot. The soccer was so much fun to watch; I never thought I'd cheer for Aibos. But I did. I even cheered for our 220 when the networking worked.

      • I actually saw a cool show on PBS about Aibo soccer teams. I forget which show it was. Nova, I think.

        Anyway, most of the teams had left their Aibos motions fundamentaly alone. The winning team, however, made their robo dogs crawl around on their elbows. They used their forearms to keep other players from stealing the ball. It was really a pretty ingenious tactic and the other teams quickly duplicated it.
        • Actually, ALL of the teams make their dogs crawl on the elbows, and have for a while. They can actually move them faster that way, because they're more stable. Shielding the ball while still moving with it effectively is much more difficult, and not everyone has that part figured out.
    • It certainly sounds a lot more interesting than annual lame excuse for a TV show shown in this country called "Techno Games". Featuring, amongst other pointless events, a "robot" football tournament. Only, the "robots" are actually radio controlled cars, entered by the most amateurish teams they can possibly find.
  • This has always befuddled me.

    BTW: watching robots play soccer is really, really boring, but coding them to play sounds kind of interesting. Is there any software out there similar to ASM-Robots that lets you do something like that?

    • It's short for association football. No, it doesn't make sense. It doesn't have to, it's British.

    • I'd have to disagree with you. I've seen the videos from past RoboCup tournaments, and frankly, they're fascinating to me.

      I think that watching the robots play is at least as entertaining as watching real soccer (of course, if you don't like watching any sports, well, can't blame you for not enjoying the roboversion..). I think it's simply amazing to watch a group of robots work as a team and form plays, some of which are very inventive.

      • If you think that that's cool, you have to see a flying robots competition. I missed seeing the one a few years ago in Disney World by three days.

        Well, that particular year had the first score by any team. It was spectacular. The team that scored used a helicopter design. It was really quite simple. Unfortunately, they didn't have a way to drop the disks in the goal, so the robot just ended up hovering over it for a while. That was the coolest competition of true robots that I've ever seen.
    • but coding them to play sounds kind of interesting.

      If you search, you can find the simulator for the official robocup environment along with a manual that explains the protocols available in the field environment for communication, kicking, etc. After that, it's up to you to code autonomous intelligent agents to play soccer in the language of your choosing. The simulation is cheaper than building actual robots, and AI really is the most important part anyway!
    • "soccer is really, really boring, but coding them to play sounds kind of interesting."

      Sounds like a true slashdotter to me! Give that man some Karma.
  • Asimo... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gortbusters.org (637314) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @01:27PM (#5875085) Homepage Journal
    interesting concept, hefty price tag!
  • by Snover (469130) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @01:27PM (#5875086) Homepage
    Does this mean that they'll all go around sniffing each-other's butts?
    • They'll also clean themselves in front of you without any shame.

      And let's not forget the robot dogs who eat other robotic dog-droppings!
    • by fjordboy (169716) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @01:42PM (#5875152) Homepage
      After watching the first video on this site [cmu.edu], there is definite footage of two aibo's on the same team (same color) with one aibo's head directly under the "tail" of the other aibo. I don't know if they were going for realism and trying to have the dogs sniff each other, or if it was just a coincidence, but the effect is hilarious.
    • I'm sure they sniff each other and roll in each other's droppings: hey, a dog's a dog. But if one of these lil' guys gets ahold of your leg, it's best to just let 'em finish. The last thing you need is a jilted, network-connected Doberman Pinscher trying to boil your bunny and hack your server.
  • by corebreech (469871) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @01:32PM (#5875109) Journal
    Since dogs traditionally chase mailmen, I think this would be more fitting.

    Just replace the people who deliver mail with the people who spam us with e-mail, and you have a smash hit!

    You'd need to give Aibo some teeth though, and I've got some old and rusty Exacto-knife blades that would fit the bill perfectly.
  • If Cornell wins this maybe they'll finally start to get some positive coverage in the news after their last few fuckups, unless they send congratulation emails out to the losers... but i digress...

  • videos (Score:5, Informative)

    by fjordboy (169716) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @01:36PM (#5875131) Homepage
    There are a bunch of videos here [cmu.edu], they appear to be of varying sizes...though the first one I started downloading is still going strong and just passed the 42 meg mark...actually, right as I was writing this it stopped, so it is 43 megs...so the videos are big and long (hopefully). Enjoy.
    • the first video is great...this is absolutely hilarious watching them move around and the way they maneuver to "kick" the balls.

      Also, about 2 minutes in you totally see an aibo sniff the rear of another aibo....
  • alan alda (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2003 @01:56PM (#5875197)
    Alan alda has a great show [pbs.org] about aibo soccer in his scientific frontier show.
  • by pkiesel (245289) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @01:58PM (#5875204) Journal
    Okay, it can't compete with Aibos for cute (or irony), but there is a much more exciting way to go: FIRST high school robotics (http://www.usfirst.org/), an international competition for high school robotics teams.

    These are 130 lb robots with between one and two horsepower, running both autonomously and with radio control, and playing a two against two timed game. The teams have six weeks in Jan. & Feb. to design, build, program, test and ship their robots. They start with a kit of parts (motors, robot controller, misc. hardware) and build their robots for a game which changes every year.

    There are 800 teams in the US, Canada, the UK and Brazil and 23 regional competitions, plus the championship event which was held in the Reliant Stadium in Houston last month. We used the Astrodome for our pits!

    As a mentor and parent of two team members (http://www.cybersonics.org/), I can tell you this is a blast! I encourage everyone to take a look at it and think about getting involved. Most teams are always looking for mentors and new teams are starting every year.
  • robot soccer is seriously something that influences my career decisions. it's just so damn cool.
  • Simulation League (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ibcmax (565509) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:06PM (#5875232) Homepage Journal
    Ahh Robocup - the memories come flooding back. When I was but a uni sudent at Curtin Uni [curtin.edu.au], one particularly inventive AI lecturer gave us the task of designing and implementing a Robocup software simulation client. Apart from being very instructive and worthwhile, it was absolutely great fun. People strove to create the best clients to beat fellow classmates, and implemented players who would clear the ball if it got too close to their own goal, algorithms to pass the ball effectively, and a stamina management system to help players conserve energy instead of sprinting everywhere and running out of puff.

    If there are any AI Uni Lecturers among the slashdot readership, take my advice as a former student and do something like this for your students as an assignment - it will be one of the best they ever do. The server software and API documentation is free to download, and players may be implemented in amy language you want.

    How about a slashdot effort for next years cup? :)

    • I attended a few RoboCup lectures by CMU folks, where they gave amusing anecdotes... my favorite was the team that figured out that the server allowed players to kick the ball multiple times, increasing the ball's speed each time. So they programmed a strategy such that whenever a player got possession of the ball, he would kick it around himself in a circle until the ball got going lightning fast, then shoot it in an unblockable beeline for the goal. Of course, the server program was slightly modified af
  • RoboCup Photos (Score:3, Interesting)

    by agusus (470745) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @02:28PM (#5875323) Homepage
    For those interested, I'm on the CMU Simulation league team, and I have about 30 photos from the American Open:

    Photos [cmu.edu]

    And as an update to the original post, the American Open concluded about an hour ago, with the CMU AIBO team winning the finals in competition against Cornell.

    • Correction to my post:

      The CMU AIBO team won against *Georgia Tech*, not Cornell. Our small-sized team won against Cornell.
      • What? CMU won against Cornell in the Small-Size league?
        Can you give us a little update on that. The official page [americanopen03.org] is still a little bit vague on that matter.
        (In case someone gets an updated page: The finals have been still blank)

        Considering last years already impressive performance of BigRed in Fukuoka, this is quite an achievement. Congratulations.
  • I watched this last year. It was being broadcast when some company (forgot which) was testing thier streaming technology.

    I was surprised by how entertaining it was.

    The AI for little robot dogs do all kinds of things.

    When they score a goal the do a little dance, and when there other teammates see them doing a little dance they start dancing. LOL it was pretty funny.
  • ...for the last year students at the IT-engineering program, and have had so for a couple of years now.

    Pretty pictures of their two robots:
    http://www.robocup.it.uu.se/

  • by mattis_f (517228) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @03:06PM (#5875669)
    Well, it's interesting to see that this is starting to pick up in the US as well. Last year we (we = project team from Uppsala University, Sweden) competed in the RoboCup 2002, which was being held in Japan at the same time as the 'normal' soccer world cup. It was an extremely interesting experience and the exhibition floor and competitions were on the floor of a huge indoor baseball arena (maximum capacity: 50 000). During three days of competition about 100,000 people showed up.

    It's a shame you don't have what I consider the most interesting leagues though - the middle size and the humanoid league. Those are the ones that require most work and has least competitors, so it might be hard to get a full league I suppose. Middle size robots have everything onboard and have to do everything by themselves. There are quite a few teams in Europe and Japan, coming from universities but also some companies (Philips, dutch home electronics company, had a good middle size team last year.)

    Further, FYI, Aibo robots are programmed by the team, so the kind of tricks and cool stuff they do depends on who programmed them (and how much time they had... :-) ). Teams who compete in this league obviously don't have to construct the hardware which might be nice for all the software guys out there. In most other leagues you build the robots from standard off-the-shelf components.

    There is also a German Open which is being held in Paderborn, Germany, sometime soon. Further, the world championships, the real RoboCup 2003, is being held in Padua, Italy in the summer. This is from the top of my head, I don't have any URL:s, but I'm sure they can be found with a quick search.
  • The entire contest seems kind of boring, as it is supposed to use robots built by someone else.

    Eurobot is a contest for completely autonomous robots that are constructed for the contest.

    The rules can be found at www.anstj.org [anstj.org].

    The basic idea is to find and flip 12 twocoloured pucs, so that the color you fight for is up. Two robots compete for 1.5 minutes, and the pucs are placed on the board after the robots.

    This year 32 teams from Europe and Asia are competing. My teams homepage is here [itk.ntnu.no], but in No

  • Now there are even more soccer teams that can kill mine (we haven't won in two years)

    And what's worse we'd be losing to a few thousand dollar pieces of plastic and metal that are at the most 10 inches tall
  • Asimo the puppet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ghetto_D (670850) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @05:33PM (#5876812)
    I think robotic sports competitions are a great idea. It helps younger generations get interested in technology, and definately spawns some creative innovations. I watched a special on TechTV recently ... http://www.techtv.com/news/shownotes/story/0,24195 ,3425334,00.html one thing that surprised me was the segment on Asimo. They commented that there are multiple engineers controlling Asimo while he is on stage. With all of the money and research Honda has put into this robot, why does it still require mutliple humans to control it?
  • Other competitions (Score:3, Informative)

    by blackcoot (124938) on Sunday May 04, 2003 @06:35PM (#5877202)

    For the HS crowd, there's Botball [botball.org], which had it's DC area competition this weekend at UMCP, sponsored by the K.I.S.S. Institute for Practical Robotics [kipr.org]. KIPR also puts together neat kits if you're looking for something to play with (a word of advice, Interactive-C blows and it's type checking system is flakey at best).

    There's also Trinity Colleges's Autonomous Robotics Firefighting Contest [trincoll.edu] which has a league for just about anybody. Qualifying alone is an impressive feat.

    Also, if you're interested in the simulation league, you may be interested in checking out this paper [gmu.edu] which was written by one of the profs in my department.

    </karmawhoring>

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