The RoboCup German Open this year presented a particular challenge because the rules of the game in the league changed significantly. Instead of a green carpet, the games were played on 30-millimeter high artificial turf, which places great demands on the running, and in particular, the stabilization of the robots. Furthermore, the color coding of the playing field was changed. The ball is no longer monochromatic orange; instead a size one ball with last year's FIFA design was used. In addition, the goals were changed from yellow to white. Both changes required major changes in the image processing of the robots.
Five teams entered the German Open: the Bold Hearts from England, who were the vice world champion last year; the WF Wolves from Wolfenbüttel; the Hamburg Bit-Bots; the opponent in the final game, Photon, a new team from Russia; and the FUmanoids.
The FUmanoids are robots with a human form, so-called humanoids, and the size of a small child. The robots recognize the ball and playing field with a video camera installed on their head. The image processing and the game strategy are processed with a built-in torso computer. The robots are autonomous, but are able to communicate with one another by radio and act as a team. Each robot carries motors that must function in coordination to carry out the various movements. Programming humanoid robots is very laborious and difficult.
The RoboCup German Open competition is held annually. It is a kind of European championship, which annually serves as preparation for the World Cup. The soccer robots of Freie Universität have been participating in international tournaments since 1999. The German Open tournament is played in seven different leagues (standardized humanoid robots, kid-size humanoids, 3D simulation league, rescue robots, service robots for home use, logistics league, and industrial robots) and a junior tournament for school kids.
The objective of the RoboCup tournament is to develop hardware and software for service robots of the future within the framework of a competition. In industry and service areas, robots are continuously taking over new tasks. Robot developers of the future meet each other at these competitions and gain valuable experience for their future professional activities.
The HARTING Open Source Prize is awarded by the company HARTING. It is given to teams that make software and/or electronic or mechanical blueprints available to the public as open source files. In choosing the FUmanoids for this year's prize, the selection committee particularly wanted to give the team credit for publishing its competition code since 2011, which provides a comprehensive overview of the hardware blueprints and software programming. "The team wishes to make a contribution to the development of RoboCup and is honored to be recognized for it," said Daniel Seifert of Freie Universität.