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Steve, our non-bipedal humanoid robot

Testing computer vision, modeling and behavior on a humanoid robot can be difficult. At some point you can’t rely on the simulator anymore and have to test on a real robot. And suddenly everything becomes more complicated and the results less reliable. Swearwords can be heard when the robot is not working perfectly (lose screws, mis-calibrated servos, …) and time has to be spent doing basic repairs and configuration. Even if the robot is in perfect condition, the change from simulator to actual walking robot is a big difference due to a lot of noise in the image and sensor data caused by the robot walking.

So for testing, we already showed you a three-wheel platform for our robots a while ago. After we had to recycle the servos in it for repairs, it got a bit forgotten until a couple of months ago when we updated the design to now be a standalone robot. Luckily we saved the prototype of the torso which is now mounted on a new base platform. We also updated the omni-wheels (again borrowed from one of the FU-Fighter small size robots) to a smaller version to prevent judder while driving. Adding the head, we now have Steve, whose camera is precisely the same height as our bi-pedal robots and which can run the same software. As it only has 5 servos, the battery lasts much longer which is an added benefit when testing. And as Steve can not fall down and has not many moving parts, it is (almost) always in perfect working condition.

Overall, this makes for a very nice test robot. Check out the pictures below.

First friendly game of the season

After having coded past midnight on Friday, the teams arrived back this Saturday morning to prepare for a day of coding, talking and tests. We did our first friendly game this year, against the Hamburg Bit-Bots. Some issues on both sides caused the number of shot goals to be quite low (final score was 1:1). , however that’s what these games are for. Overall we are quite optimistic about the state of our robots and software and are going to work on some of the issues. The Bit Bots played against Bold Hearts as well. Hopefully we’ll have more games tomorrow.

Visiting Robots

This weekend, we are hosting the latest of the RoboCup Berlin Open Workshops (“RoBOW”). While the SPL-Teams meet in Dortmund, several Humanoid teams have come to Berlin to discuss the latest developments and test their robots in some friendly games. What a wonderful opportunity to test the new big field and prepare for the upcoming competitions in April.

So yesterday, our robots donned their new shoes, and welcomed the visiting robots and their human teams. We are happy to have the teams Bold Heart, Hamburg Bit-Bots and WF Wolves join us this weekend.

New feet

After numerous complaints (not just from Ada and Grace), it became obvious that the robots needed new shoes. The old ones were quite clunky and also heavy, so a new much lighter model was designed and added to all robots.

Hardware Release

In the spirit of sharing, our team has made available all developed electronic components used in the FUmanoid robots. This includes schematics and board layouts, as well as the required firmwares.

The first component released is our power board. It includes a microcontroller to monitor voltage, report the system state and cut off power if necessary.

Power Board

Power Board

Next is our sensor and actuactor board called Erolf. It provides three serial buses to the servo motors (in our case RS485 Dynamixel models), allowing for high-speed parallel setting and getting of the actuator position. It also includes an IMU with a dedicated microcontroller running an extended kalman filter. The board also includes safety functionality to cut off the power to the servos as soon as an abnormal state, e.g. a short circuit in the cables, is detected.

Erolf - an actuator control and sensor board

Erolf – an actuator control and sensor board

Finally, the third component released is an overvoltage protection module for our Dynamixel servos. Though quite small, it serves an important functionality in that it short-circuits the power to ground (detectable by our power board) as soon as a short circuit is detected between the data wires and VCC. This usually would cause many of the connected servos to become damaged (more specifically, the ICs connected to the serial bus). Together with the above two boards such damage is now virtually eliminated in our robots.

Schluecki

Source code 2013

As last year, we decided to also release this year’s source code. More precisely, the version used in our last game (quarter finals) at RoboCup 2013 in Eindhoven. Even though a code re-use is rather difficult in the humanoid league (due to the different and often quite individually constructed robots of each team), we are hoping it will be of interest to other teams. And we hope that more teams will be releasing their code … Because that’s also a goal of RoboCup – to learn from the successes and mistakes of other teams.

To this effect, enjoy the download.

P.S.: The framework our robot software is based on has also been released in a current version (Download).

New large field

Last weekend the FUmanoids discovered their inner craftsman and built a new soccer field. Since the rules for the Robocup 2014 require a field of 9m x 6m the old field in the laboratory was too small. 3 hours, 5 rolls of carpet and 50m of tape later the field was completed and the testing started.

harte Arbeit

The large field poses new challenges as objects have to be spotted over larger distances and the localization has to be adjusted. So far our robots handled the new field well. Now the robots are looking forward to March when several other teams come to Berlin and will play some training matches on the new field.

Mate-Abhängikeit

It seems, one of our robots has found a new addiction to Club Mate…

Christmas Pictures

P1000891 P1000892

The FUmanoids wish everybody a happy new year.

First in Group

Yesterday we played our two matches in the first round robin, and we won 2:1 against TH-MOS (all goals scored by us …) and 3:0 against NUbots. This means we are first in our group and will directly proceed to the second round robin which will start this afternoon.

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Picture

Isn’t she sweet?

Ada at RoboCup 2013

Ada at RoboCup 2013