Meet Ruben. Ruben is a second-year Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student at Eindho University of Technology. He's been part of the Tech United MSL team for 5 years. Ruben's focus revolves around programming the strategy for the soccer robots, particularly working on innovative features like the Sweeper Keeper. Now, what is that all about?
Well, in human soccer, you might have heard of a Sweeper Keeper—a goalkeeper who actively participates in playing on the field, not just defending the goal. Surprisingly, this concept didn't exist in robotic soccer... until last year when the Tech United team started to work on the idea to introduce an extra player on the field. The robot equipped with goalkeeper hardware, including the extendable frames, doesn't have a ball handling and shooting mechanism just yet. Why? Well, it's because the competition rules limit the size and weight of the robots. The idea is that any of the other soccer robots can be appointed to defend the goal by means of substitution. In the current implementation, the advantage comes into play when we are in ball possession, allowing the Sweeper Keeper to leave the goal and join the field as an extra player. Exciting, right?
Initial results indicate that the team has been able to score more points on average with the addition of the extra player. However, it still requires further effort and experimentation to fine-tune and improve the system. Ruben and the team are determined to make things work even better.
Here's where it gets interesting. In our current setup, the real advantage kicks in when we have possession of the ball. That's when the Sweeper Keeper, our extra player, gets to leave the goal and jump onto the field. It's like having an additional teammate join in on the action. We're constantly working on refining this implementation, making the most out of the rules while still playing strategically.
Watch the full interview with Ruben on YouTube: https://youtu.be/atfhjfMYc0A