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Freie Universität Vice World Champion in RoboCup

Humanoid Robots "FUmanoids" Lost RoboCup World Championship to "Darmstadt Dribblers"

№ 180/2009 from Jul 06, 2009

Undefeated until the finals, they lost the championship to the "Darmstadt Dribblers." In the RoboCup, the soccer world championship for humanoid robots, the "FUmanoids" of Freie Universität are the new vice world cup champions in the league of humanoid robots. "The team did a great job," praised "coach" Professor Raúl Rojas of the Institute of Computer Science after the finals in Graz. "After the game is before the game. We are looking forward to a rematch against Darmstadt next year during the world cup in Singapore." Before that the robots will be completely redesigned.

Although the FUmanoids lost the finals to the faster and more agile robots of TU Darmstadt with a score of 1 to 11 goals, the season was still a success for the FUmanoids, as they moved up from place four in 2008 to second place this year. So far, the soccer robots of Freie Universität have been vice world champions six times: four times with small robots on wheels (18 cm diameter), once with larger robots on wheels (50 cm), and now one time with humanoids. Twice Freie Universität was world champion – with the legendary FU-Fighters.

The FUmanoids' start in Graz was brilliant. They defeated five teams from North America and Asia. In the second preliminary round, with 26 to 0 goals in three games, they easily advanced to the quarter finals. The semifinal was a nail-biting affair: at half-time the FUmanoids were 2 goals down (0 to 2) in the match with the CIT Brains from Japan, the team that defeated the FUmanoids during the semifinals in 2008. In the second half, the FUmanoids were able to turn the tables: without a goalie and with all their robots in offense, they made the final goal with one minute to go and won the game 4:3.

The FUmanoids are constructed at the Institute of Computer Science at Freie Universität Berlin as part of a student project in artificial intelligence under the supervision of the computer science professor Raúl Rojas. For one whole year the students work on the development of the mechanics, computer vision, control system, and strategy of the robots. Just to achieve the robots' balance on two legs, the fast forward dribbling, or the observation of the field with a camera in order to detect obstacles rapidly, represents major challenges for the small microprocessors. The RoboCup is a type of laboratory for the research needed to produce service robots of the future.

This year's team members:

• Hamid Reza Moballegh (project management)
• Gretta Hohl (behavior)
• Tim Landgraf (computer vision)
• Torsten Fassbender (computer vision)
• Bennet Fischer (motherboard and operating system)
• Steffen Heinrich (dribbling)
• Björn Kahlert (server program and motion editor)
• Mariusz Kukulski (mechanics)
• Tobias Langner (self-localization)
• Sebastian Mielke (behavior)
• Stefan Otte (kicking behavior)
• Daniel Seifert (computer–engines connection, software engineering)
• Daniel Steig ( foot sensor technology,  compass)
• Kai Stoll (goalie, defense)
• Naja von Schmude (3D calibration)
• Raúl Rojas (coach)

For additional information and interview requests:

Professor Raúl Rojas, Institute of Computer Science, Freie Universität Berlin,
Tel.: 0176 / 83073208, Email: