№ 203/2013 from Jul 05, 2013
Teams from Freie Universität won several awards at this year’s world championship for soccer and service robots held in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. They entered the competition in three categories. In the league of humanoid soccer robots at least 90 centimeters in size, an international team led by Freie Universität came in third place. In the league of robots up to 60 centimeters, a newly created team of two, designed by faculty and staff of the Institute of Computer Science, reached the last eight. A team from Freie Universität entered the competition for service robots with an autonomous wheelchair and narrowly missed the final round.
The 90-centimeter robots of the FUB-KIT team were designed and assembled by researchers from Freie Universität and Kyushu Institute of Technology (Japan). It was the first time they participated jointly in the RoboCup. The members of the team met for the first time on the field – their collaboration in the previous months had been largely done via the Internet. Blueprints and electronics design were exchanged electronically. The international team is made up of scientists from Germany, Japan, Iceland, and Iran. They defeated the Indian team, AcYut, in the match for third place with a score of 1-0.The key feature of the new German-Japanese robot is its extremely light construction, which allows for quicker movements.
In this year's competition for 60-centimeter robots, Freie Universität’s team entered new robots with an altered mechanical system. They were in the spotlight for the first time at this year's Long Night of Sciences in Berlin.
The autonomous wheelchair entered in the league of service robots attracted a great deal of attention. This category is for robots with grippers and video cameras that could be used in the future, for example, in offices and homes. The wheelchair designed by the team from Freie Universität was able to move around autonomously in an apartment and showed that it was able to follow people. Although they missed qualifying for the finals, the scientists rated the performance as a moderate success and expect very good results in the competition next year, due to a longer development cycle.
The Berlin scientists also demonstrated a helmet designed by Dr. Hamid Moballegh. It was worn by a blindfolded person who got commands from a computer as to how to move around. A video camera and a computer are installed on the helmet that can, for example, give verbal commands to guide a blind person to a destination. In a soccer game between blindfolded humans and robots as an experiment testing the interaction between humans and computers, the robots won.
The annually hosted RoboCup is an international competition that serves as a laboratory for the development of intelligent robots. The robots play soccer or navigate, for example, in homes. In real time they must evaluate their sensors and video cameras and perceive and interpret their environment. Everything happens - just like in a soccer game - in fractions of seconds.
In November the roboticists of Freie Universität Berlin will participate in a new competition, this time in the field of planetary exploration with a new lunar rover.
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