We have applied for the world cup of RoboCup, which will be in Sydney this year. We have written a Team Description Paper for this purpose, in which we are presenting our research of the last year. We have also made a video for our application. We are very happy to have been accepted and to be able to fly to Sydney in juli and for the exciting games we will get to play.
We are already preparing a lot for the world cup. We have had multiple integration tests in the last few months. In the integration tests we have tested all of our hard- and software. We are also already planning the next integration test.
By changing to our new robot platform, from our Minibots to our new Wolfgang robots, we have had to fight with some new problems. On the other hand we also were more motivated and that is why we managed to accomplish a lot of progress in our software as well as in the continued development of the Wolfgang hardware platform.
As part of working on our software, we have overhauled our vision. It is now better able to process and calculate the results of our CPU and graphics card in parallel.
At the moment multiple bachelor thesis are being worked on, which aim to use Fully Convolutional Neural Networks, to detect additional objects on the field. We aim to also detect robots and goalposts with this method.
The localization of our robot is being completely changed and improved right now. For this we use AMCL, a particle filter, to transform linepoints which have been found by our vision. A live demonstration video is available at: https://www.instagram.com/p/BtVlmNuFCGd/
Additionally to our localization we are also working on a world model. We aim to process the sensor input data from multiple robots and use the data to look at how the ball moved over time, which allows us to filter if we detect e.g. the ball in one place where it couldn’t possible be based on our previous measurements.
We have completely rewritten our behavior. We have developed a new description language which will allow us easier continued development of our behavior. For this we have developed our Dynamic Stack Decider and are currently working on publishing a paper about it.
For our path planning, the calculation which route our robot should take, we have switched to move_base.
For our animations and our walking we have switched to using splines. By using splines we are able to calculate smaller steps between the start of the motion and finishing the motion. This allows us to have less jerky movements.
We managed to send our motors significantly more signals per second. This way we are able to decide in more detail how the motor should move and thus accomplish a more precise movement in general.
We have built new foot sensors into our robots. By looking at the additional data we are generating this way we can stabilise our walking and our animations.
In the context of a bachelor thesis we are currently working on a system to calibrate our motors. Small inaccuracies between a measurement and the reality lead to large differences in how the robot is actually oriented. With this method large differences have already been found and fixed.
For the Symposium of the RoboCup world cup we are planning on a few more scientific papers. We will talk about these more at a later point in time and upload them on our publications page.
Our code is open source and can be viewed on Github:
We will take part in the German Open before we fly to Sydney. We will test our hard- and software there in detail and are excited for games we will get to play in Magdeburg.
Additionally to this Blog, Facebook and Twitter we will also publish images on Instagram. Our new Instagram page can be found here:
In the last few days, interested teenagers got to try out, what it is like to study computer science at our university. And like the last years, we offered one of the three projects the pupils could choose from. During this week, they did not just get a look at our daily lifes, but instead got to experience hands on, what it takes to make a robot play soccer.
Our new friend Cozmo, a robot produced by Anki, joined us for this years project, and thanks to its intuitive programming environment made it rather easy for the students to solve various problems and to programm and play games with or against Cozmo. Step by step they helped Cozmo to reach his dream goal to become a soccer star player.
In contrast to the last years, this time we tried a different learning concept, developed by a master student at our university. In various tasks the 13 children first learned how to work with the robot and his graphical programming environment, before later going on to use a “real” programming language. The main goal was to make Cozmo shoot a goal on friday.
Even though this was a challenging task, the students quickly recognized how to use Cozmos sensors to find the ball in the camera image, then calculate the position in the real world, to then figure out where he is supposed to move.
Besides working on the project, the pupils were also keen to see our campus, so we showed them around in the labs of TAMS. They got to control a robotic arm with a HoloLense and watch as Trixie searched for interestingly colored objects.
It’s unbelievable but almost a year has passed since the last world championship in Japan has ended and the world championship in Montreal, Canada, is just around the corner! This year, the schedule is a little unusual: The set-up days are Saturday and Sunday and the regular tournament doesn’t start until Monday.
Like last year the arrival of the team members happened in chunks: Jessica has already arrived yesterday and used the day to explore the city. Everyone else traveled today: Maike’s flight from Stockholm left at 06:05, Judith, Jasper, Marc, Timon, Niklas and Daniel left Hamburg around 10:10. They re-united in Paris and started the last (and biggest) part of the journey from Paris to Montreal with significant delay, but together. The flight was mostly used to work a little on the software, meet new teams and catch up with some sleep. The airport in Montreal was then firmly in the hands of the RoboCup community: Flights from Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt arrived nearly simultaneously and brought almost all European RoboCup teams to Canada at the same time.
We then made the first experience with the famous Canadian kindness during the trip from the airport to our accommodation. People here are incredible accommodating and you don’t even need to ask for help, you’ll frequently get kind offers of help. Then again everything is very coordinated here: The shuttle buses from the airport had an “instructor” who decided how many people could board the bus. This amount was strictly determined by the amount of seats and luggage space available. What a difference compared to Japan where people got payed to push as many people as possible into one train!
View towards Convention Center and river
We have rented a small apartment a little outside the city center this year. This makes the travel to the competition venue a little longer. However, it also means we are all staying together, we can have breakfast whenever we want, we can cook dinner together (if we have the time) – and of course work as long and as much at night as we want! The first arrival at our apartment was surprisingly unpleasant: The code for the front door was wrong and of course none of us had a Canadian SIM card or data roaming available. Luckily the landlord randomly came by after a little while and the short drama had a quick and happy ending. The rest of the evening was used for a short grocery shopping trip and a quick dinner. Now most team members are already asleep, which is no wonder since it’s already 5 AM in Germany.
Tomorrow morning the competition hall will open at 8 AM and of course we want to be among the first to enter. We hope to record some images to train our vision and adapt our walking algorithm to the local turf right away. Much has changed since the last world championship, both when it comes to the software and hardware. The level of motivation in the team is higher than it has been for a long time and thus we’re all looking very much forward to the beginning of RoboCup 2018 tomorrow!
Convention Center, Palais des congrès de Montréal