Thursday, 27 June 2013

Latest news from Bold Hearts at RoboCup 2013

Guest Blog by Dr Daniel Polani, Adaptive Systems Research Group


Bold Hearts at the German 
Open 2013 earlier this year
The latest world championship in robot football, RoboCup 2013, is currently underway in Eindhoven in The Netherlands – and the University’s Bold Hearts team has already been in action!

Bold Hearts has been taking part in these competitions since 2003. And until this year, Bold Hearts has competed in the all-software RoboCup 3D Simulation League. But, since last year’s RoboCup world cup in Mexico City, we’ve acquired a team of DARwin-OP robots – so we’ve also moved into the Humanoid Kid-Sized League. A whole new set of challenges for the team!

So back to this year’s championships – our first game in the Kid-sized league against MRL from Iran (who has a full building with labs and around 100 people devoted to RoboCup activities; a formidable opponent ) didn't go so well! The good news is that we did actual score two goals. But we lost 3-1 - one of "their" goals was an own goal by us!


We are aware that our robot's orientation is not quite as it should be because, in past years, both goals were different colours - but this year, both goals are the same colour - making it difficult for the robots to understand whether they are pointing towards the opponent's goal or to their own goal!

Bold Hearts in defensive 
formation at the German 
Open in April 2013
Then onto today’s games. Great news! We beat BitBots from Hamburg 2-1! Although, we did actually scored three goals - their one goal was another own goal from us! So quite clearly our robot’s orientation requires some more work!

And now we have just played a regular game time against SNObots from Australia resulting in a draw 1-1 (you probably have guessed it by now …..both goals by us!). Now we are going into extra time...., so wish us luck.

In the simulation competition, we only had drop-in challenge games so far (a challenge competition for mixed teams) - the normal games have not started yet. Watching our performance in the drop-in challenge, it looks good, but official results will only been known later.

In the simulation league (where AIs control virtual robots playing football), we have a successful record in previous competitions - our simulation team was third in last year’s RoboCup world championships in Mexico). However, we do not expect this string of success to continue because most of our effort went into the hardware kid-sized league, and the other teams have become stronger.

However, the transition is worth it. We have performed better than we expected. Our robot usually recognises the ball, walks fast, kicks the ball with conviction (and not everybody does that), and we scored (and not everybody does that either) - even if it was into our own goal (well nobody is perfect...)!

So, wish us luck as we go into extra time and also for the the remaining games in the simulation.

Visit our Facebook page for more information on our adventures at RoboCup 2013 but while we are busy on-field, we will be unlikely to update it too much, as our team is small. But keep an eye out.

The Bold Hearts team consists of: Sander van Dijk (Team Captain), Drew Noakes, Ismael Duque-Garcia, Daniel Barry, Oliver Olding, Nicole Hendrickson, and Daniel Polani (Head of the UH RoboCup project).

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