Unfortunately the FUmanoids missed the semifinals. The good news: We detected the ball and goals from pretty long distances, and getting up again after falling down worked like a charm as well. The walker was pretty stable and this is the first competition we used the “Ready”-phase to have the robots strategically position themselves. Last, but not least, we could walk. Nice.
The Chinese ZJU Dancers danced their way to victory, one might say. Their stable and fast walking made them hard to stop on their way to our goal. They took the lead in the first few minutes after Emmy, our designated goalie, decided to turn around and take a walk in her own goal and Grace decided to just stand by and politely let the opponent pass.
In the second half Ada took the courage and went into offense, only to be stopped by a Dancer that almost scored a goal in the ensuing counterattack. Emmy blocked the attacker, not giving in to the pressure inflicted upon her, and heroically prevented the 2:0.
Counterattack by the Dancers
In the end the Dancers deservedly won the match and went on to win the semifinal as well. In the final they will meet the CIT Brains, familiar faces to us. It will probably be an exciting match on the highest level.
Teamphoto with the ZJU Dancers
In the evening we participated in two Technical Challenges:
First, Ada had a bottle of sand thrown at her chest and managed quite well to not fall down, the poor thing.
Throwing sand at Ada
Later, we tried to kick a fast moving ball into the goal, which unfortunately failed whenever the ref looked. But hey, we got prove it worked at least once:
Short summary of our game day. It was long and very exciting!
First game against the Wolves: 2:0 Win, Ada scored twice and showed us how the robot walk is done!
We made it to the second round robin phase!
Faceoff with the Wolves!
Second game with the CIT Brains (Japan): These guys are the most promising team of the competition. But we held our ground pretty well! Because both teams had little problems finding the ball and running towards it, there were lots of collisions and damage done (we had two broken arms that needed tending to..).
Surgery urgently needed! Anyone got a spare arm lying around?
In the end the Brains were able to transform their sweet shooting skills and fast walking speed into two goals.
Duel with the CIT Brains
Third game, KUDOS (South Korea): In this game neither the vision nor the walking worked as well as in the other two games. Not much happened, in the end Ada saved the day again by scoring in the last few seconds.
KUDOS goalie looking at the playing field
So now we are second in our group and will meet the ZJUDancers (China) again in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
While our first game against the RoboFEI-HT was a tie, our first goal took place in the second!
Calibrating before the game
First Game against RoboFEI-HT (Brazil): After not a lot to look at and just one run towards the opponent’s goal by Ada that ended much too soon on the penalty box line, the game ended with a score of 0:0.
Game with RoboFEI-HT
In the second game John managed to dribble the ball over the score line and thereby scored our first goal!
John Dribbling Towards the Goal (GIF-Animation)
Later the strong dribblers of the Dancers were able to score a goal and evened out the score. The ZJUDancers are one of the tournament’s strongest teams, so the tie is quite the success for us.
Servicing the Robot
Tomorrow we will play our last game of the first round robin phase, and there is a lot left to work on and little time to do so. So it stays interesting.
Calibrating the Goal Post
PS: Only four out of 15 teams in the league have scored a goal today! (see the results)
After one and a half days of travelling and very little sleep, we finally made it to our hotel beds in Hefei thursday evening.
The many, many flighthours were spent with games, drinks, movies, and (of course) some programming.
There is always some bug to fix, even in the sky.
Yesterday was first day of setup; today will be second. While the teams are getting used to the artificial turf and the other conditions of the competition, it is exciting to see so much great competition. There are many robots walking and shooting on such a high level that the games are surely going to be a fascinating sight.
The FUmanoids won the Humanoid KidSize Soccer tournament of German Open 2015!
As a short reminder:
Due to the new set of rules all teams were struggling to play a decent game.
Especially the new artificial turf made walking and getting up hard as never before.
Teaching Alan how to get up.
All our work paid off in the final against Russian newcomers Team Photon from Tomsk.
Even though our first two dribblings failed right before the opponent’s goal, finally we managed to score in overtime.
Have a look at the complete game here (big props to our buddies the Hamburg Bit-Bots, who streamed and uploaded all the games):
The scoring of the goal can be seen at 46:40, the dribbling towards the goal starts approximately at minute 45:00.
A huge Thank You! to the organizers of the event and greetings to all the other teams who made it such great fun.
The Finalists: FUmanoids and Team Photon, Newcomer From Tomsk, Russia.
The morning saw the remaining preliminary games (two per team). After we fixed an issue in the walking code, and added a motion to roll from the front to the back to be able to always get back up, we were quite optimistic that we would score either against the Hamburg Bit-Bots or the Bold Hearts. Unfortunately this bore no fruit. Though the robots had not to be taken out as often after a fall, they still did not hold the ball for a long time.
In the end, all the preliminary games ended 0:0, making it impossible to rank the teams in the group phase. The rule book has a provision for that case, saying that each team takes alternating penalty kick trials trying to score a goal. As this forbids entering the penalty area and no team is currently able to kick the ball over that distance (or at all), a new approach was decided upon. Five alternating trials would be hold, the first being a regular penalty kick, the second a modified penalty kick where the striker may enter the penalty area, the third trial would be judged based on the distance the ball is moved towards the goal, the fourth trial on the distance walked towards the goal and, if required, the fifth trial would be won by the team that walked the farthest (whatever direction).
In preparation of this phase, a check of our code revealed a nasty bug that we added yesterday. This turned out to be the reason the robot would walk away from the ball. Having fixed that, we went into the penalty trials quite optimistically. As expected, the first trial was no success as we can’t kick. However in the second trial we scored our first goal:
Before us, Photon also managed to score and so did Bold Hearts. Ranked on time, this made us first in group, followed by Photon and Bold Hearts. The fourth in the group turned out to be WF Wolves after they managed to move the ball farther towards the goal than the Hamburg Bit-Bots in the firth trial round. This meant we would be meeting WF Wolves in the semi-final.
In the semi-finals we started playing in the “bad” direction, where the grass’ “growing” direction makes it much harder to walk. This caused a lot of falls and ultimately no goal. However in the second half, playing with the grain, we finally managed to score. Our work on walking and stabilization payed out when we withstood direct contact with the large WF Wolves robot and Grace dribbled the ball close to the goal. When she lost the ball, Alan took over and finished the way into the Wolves’ goal.
In the other semi-final, Photon won against Bold Hearts by a technical goal, dribbling the ball 12cm farther under the modified penalty kick rules. We will meet Photon tomorrow in the finals.
Today were the first half of the preliminaries (round robin). We played two games, which you can see below in the recorded live-streams the Hamburg Bit-Bots provided.
Alan taking possession of the ball.
We tied 0:0 in both games. However we managed to gain possession of the ball quite often and move it toward the opponent goal. In both games (as well as the other games played today) we were the only team to manage this in that extent. Most teams had severe problems getting either back up or walking more than a step or two, whereas our robots managed to recognize the ball and walk over longer distances. Unfortunately this was not quite enough to score a goal, as we were still plagued from falls and especially our on-going inability to stand up when having fallen on the front. The latter required the robots to be taken out, which cost us valuable time. It was also unfortunate that the robots “lost” the ball a few times when close to the goal and wandered off to somewhere else.
We are looking forward to the games tomorrow (10:15 against Hamburg Bit-Bots, and 12:15 against Bold Hearts). We have started added further improvements which we hope will allow us to score a goal tomorrow. Stay tuned, come by to cheer us on or at the least watch it live (thanks to the great service by the Hamburg Bit-Bots).
Yesterday was the second and last setup day. We spent a lot of time testing and improving the robot software in the morning, in anticipation of a friendly game against the Hamburg Bit-Bots in the afternoon. Progress was good, we managed to get the walking more stable and standing up at least from the back (so far). After lunch and a referee training, it suddenly was 4:30pm and we played almost a full test game against Hamburg Bit-Bots.
As test games are designed to do, this showed us quite a few problems and what we would have to work on for the rest of the day. We suddenly had immense problems gaining any ground on the grass and a last-minute bug in the code caused most of the robots to just refuse to do any work at all. The Bit-Bots didn’t score much better and spent most of the game lying on the ground. We also had problems getting up, mostly when falling on the front.
The software crash was quickly fixed after the game, and the walking algorithm also received additional attention (though as it was working much better before and after the test game, it may have simply been robot stage-fright). In addition to the artificial grass itself, additional challenges arose by the way the grass turf was being laid down, having a few bumps and a small trench at the part where the two halves meet. After some fine-tuning it looks a bit better, but it will still be interesting to see how we (and the other teams) will handle it.
Today (Friday) the games are starting. The schedule is up at http://www.robocupgermanopen.de/schedule/major/humanoid-kid-size, we will be playing our first game at 2:15pm against the WF Wolves, and the second one at 4:15pm against the new team Photon. A live-stream by the Bit-Bots will hopefully allow you to see the game live (we will post the link to our Facebook page – which is visible without a Facebook account, by the way).
Yesterday morning (Wednesday) we arrived in the lab early in the morning and drove to RoboCup German Open in Magdeburg. After arriving and unloading the cars, the first task was to inspect the playing field. As you know this year’s rules require a new, more challenging ball (at least 50% white, not the uniform orange color from the previous years) and new all-white goals (previously yellow) which we could already test at the Iran Open earlier this month. The third big change this year is the artificial grass. At Iran Open the turf was easily manageable, however in Magdeburg they picked a challenging one. Certified for FIFA games, this turf will require a lot of new skills from the robots of all teams.
The new artificial grass field at German Open
At the end of the day, we have verified and slightly improved our robot software for the new tasks. Our new ball detection algorithm works remarkably well and we seem to see the ball (at least for now) much better than most of the other teams. We also tested our updated walking algorithm, and are confident that we will be able to handle the high and challenging grass in that regards. Unfortunately, and quite surprisingly, the robot motions for standing back up after a fall stopped working. It worked on the comparatively similar turf we tried back home, so this came quite as a shock (incidentally many of the other teams have/had similar problems). This is something we will have to work on today.
Alan relaxing on the grass.
Emmy checking out the goals at German Open
We don’t know the game schedule yet, as only five out of six teams have arrived. Depending on whether the last team will come to German Open or not, the preliminaries will either be split into two 3-team groups (with each team having to play 2 games) or a large 5-team group (requiring each team to play 4 games). It seems games will start Friday afternoon either way and continue on Saturday, with the semi-finals in the afternoon.
P.S.: Starting Friday morning, RoboCup German Open will be open (with free entrance) to the public.