The soccer robot team from the Technical University of Eindhoven has won the final of the 'Portuguese Open' on the 28th of April in Lisbon. This is an important step towards the WC RoboCup, which will take place from the 26th till the 30th of June.
The opponent in the final was the team of the University of Aveiro. This team managed to beat the current world champion in a poule game by scoring twice from free kicks. In the final the keeper was well prepared and the Portuguese team was beaten with 3 – 0.
The main goal of RoboCup is speeding up the development of robot technology, for the purpose of the aging society. In order to achieve this, RoboCup stated a goal: in 2050 a team of soccer robots should be able to beat the human world champion of soccer. Because all the participants share all their new knowledge with each other after the tournaments, the technology makes a lot of progress.
WC RoboCup 2013 in Eindhoven
The world championships RoboCup will be in Eindhoven this year, from the 26th till the 30th of June. This WC-tournament for autonomous robots attracts about 2500 participants from around 40 countries. They will participate with their rescue robots, care robots, dance robots, and of course the soccer robots in competitions to see which team has developed the best robot. The team of the TU Eindhoven will defend the title of world champion robot soccer in the Middle Size League, the league of the leagues from RoboCup. The tournament is open to public and the access is free.
Two years ago, at the RoboCup German Open in Magdeburg, the German composer Ralf Hoyer attended a robotsoccer match between Tech United and Carpe Noctem. Hoyer got so enthousiastic about this that he drove all the way to Eindhoven to visit the RoboCup Dutch Open one year later. There Hoyer invited our team together with the team from Kassel to participate at the ‘Unmenschliche Musik’ festival, which was held last weekend in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin.
Hoyer equipped every soccerrobot with a speaker and composed different kinds of tones depending on the position and speed of the robots as wel as on the scoreline. Fully automatic music was played and the audience loved it. This show was given every day during the ‘Unmenschliche Musik’ festival and after the performance some people from the audience could try to score a goal against our goalkeeper.
For TURTLE 6 this festival was extra special. TURTLE 6 was equipped with the new ball handling mechanism, optimalized for better passing and ball control. Partly thanks to TURTLE 6, but also thanks to the excellent organisation, the enthousiastic audience and amazing artists the ‘Unmenschliche Musik’ festival was a great succes!
Finally we did it!! For the fifth time in a row we stood in the final, but now for the first time we got the title!! In an exciting replay of the RoboCup Dutch Open final, MRL from Iran was beaten with 4-1.
Just before the game, many things were changed in the software. The helpless feeling after uploading the software, was stronger than ever. Images of the previous four finals flashed through the minds of each team member. We don’t want to lose a final again!
During the final Tech United proved that they have mastered the new application rule, passing the ball over the middle line. Thus, the passes where sharp, exact placed and many opportunities arose. In addition, entirely in Mexican style, the Sombrero was introduced: a flat plate on top of the TURTLEs, which ensured us to stop more lob balls.
The teams working on the AMIGO and the Humanoid robot were also tensed, a real finals atmosphere was created. With a semi-final spot for TUlip and a seventh place for AMIGO they can look back satisfied to this tournament.
Through this way, we want to thank all (former) teammates, fans, sponsors and of course the TU Eindhoven. TURTLE v5, SVN version 4867, 6/23/2012, these are numbers will not forget anymore.
As home-playing team, Tech United competes with all it’s teams on the RoboCup Dutch Open. During the whole tournament all the news and information about the tournament can be found on the site of the organization. Here an overview:
Just back from the trip to Ukraine, the robots had another important job to do. In the brand new entrance of Gemini, a film set was build around a tall Christmas tree.
Notable at the set was the humanoid TUlip, the walking robot from the Eindhoven University of Technology. Originally, the developers of this robot had their own team, but this group merged with Tech United. And what is nicer as a first team activity than making a video with a Christmas greeting? TUlip and fans: welcome to the team!
A Christmas greeting ofcourse isn't complete without a Christmas card. (photo by Bart van Overbeeke)! Download the card here in high resolution, nice as a wallpaper!
TU/e starts open source system for faster development of better, lower-cost robots
Many universities around the world are working on the development of robots. In most cases independently, which means development takes longer, robots remain costly and products from different groups are incompatible. That’s why Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is today starting the Robotic Open Platform (ROP), an open source system for robot hardware. The aim is for this to become a large plug and play library to which robot builders worldwide can add their designs or improve existing ones. The higher goal is to accelerate the development of applications such as care robots, and to make them much cheaper than they are at present. TU/e itself is making available the complete blueprints of its AMIGO care robot and the well known TU/e soccer robots.
The heart of the Robotic Open Platform is a Wiki, in which all participants can make their designs available for others to copy or improve. The aim is for all elements in the Wiki to fit together seamlessly, both literally and figuratively, for example by standardization.
Much lower cost
Working together in this way will make development possible much faster and at much lower cost. “We’re putting all the drawings, diagrams and descriptions online that are needed to build a replica of our AMIGO robot”, says dr.ir. René van de Molengraft, one of the robot researchers at TU/e. “The idea is that this information will allow other research groups to build the robot at a relatively low cost. If you want to buy a robot like this, it costs around three or four hundred thousand euro. Our aim is that within a few years you’ll be able to build the successor to our AMIGO for 10,000 euro. By putting everything in the public domain you can get many more interested parties involved in the development, which means progress will be made much faster.”
All the information about AMIGO is available online from today at www.roboticopenplatform.org. Early next year all the technical documentation will be added for the soccer robots of TU/e’s Tech United team, which has played in the final of the RoboCup soccer World Championship in each of the past four years.
The Robotic Open Platform will be the hardware counterpart of the existing ROS (Robot Operating System) open source system for robot software. This was started in 2007 in the USA, and many robot developers have joined in the initiative. For example the software of AMIGO is also based on the principles developed in ROS.
European robotics week
The launch of ROP is taking place during the European Robotics Week, from 28 November to 4 December. The week features more than 340 robotics-related activities, organized by 127 institutes, to focus attention on the growing importance of robots for society (www.robotics-week.eu).
Again we’re one goal short of winning a world title in soccer robotics. After beating RFC Stuttgart in the semi-finals, we met team Water in the final match. Many team members feared this team from China because of our earlier confrontation in Singapore.
Team Water is known for its perfectly placed lob balls and fast turns. These skills were one of the reasons we decided to completely redesign our goalkeeper earlier this year. One hour before the final match of RoboCup Istanbul, this goalkeeper broke down. Taking its warming up a little too serious, parts of its electronics were melted…
As usual, we decided to change our software right before the match. Eventually version 4011 was uploaded to the robots. Our team was getting nervous. Could this go wrong again? Would we end up with second place for four times in a row?
Indeed we could. Directly after kickoff team Water made some impressive goals, lifting the score to 3 to 0. It was really frustrating to see the goalkeeper recognizing the balls properly but not being able to move its rack upward. During the second half we were able to finally catch up after one of the Water robots turned out to be malfunctioning.
Our team members working on the AMIGO robot were just as nervous. For them this was the first appearance in a major RoboCup tournament. It’s characteristic for the Tech United team spirit that these new team members were accepted by the group this fast. After half a year of development, we are already better than some of the more experienced teams in the @Home competition.
And of course Tech United is much bigger than only the people who were standing courtside in Istanbul. We would like to thank all previous team members, our fans, sponsors and of course Eindhoven University of Technology as a whole!