New Foot Sensors

Our robots have gotten new foot sensors. We were inspired by Team Rhoban from Bordeaux. ( )

We have improved on the original implementation. The possible update rate has been improved from the original 80 Hz to a theoretically possible 9.5 kHz. Our transfer rate through the bus is limited and thus we filter the output from the load cells and only transfer with a speed of 1 kHz.

We have put the Sensors  on the top side of the feet of our robots.

The feet of our robot with sensors on top.

We have implemented the sensors to help us gather more data and use this data to improve our walking and our animations by making them more stable.
We have put the sensors on our robots on the RoHOW. The sensors are able to measure 40 KG each without breaking. Of course we took that as a challenge and used two thumbs to create as much pressure as possible. There was not enough space near the sensors to use more than just two thumbs.

In the future we plan to scientifically compare how our measured center of pressure compares to an industrial 6 axis force torque sensor and publish our results. In the near future we also plan to release our improved version of the ForceFoot as opensource hardware.


The World Cup In Retrospect

Even though our last article was a while ago, a lot has happened. After the group phase we were eliminated from the regular competition of the world cup in a match against Rhoban from France.
We were more successful in the Drop-In Challenge: because of our stable goal keeper we managed to finish in the 4. place.

Afterwards we supported our collaboration partners in the team WF Wolves from Wolfenbüttel, who played in the TeenSize League. They finished the group phase in the third place and thus got directly to the semi final. There we cooperatively lost against the team Ichiro from Indonesia. The match for the third place against the Nubots from Australia ended in a penalty shootout which we unfortunately lost. In the Drop-In Challenge in the TeenSize League we were more successful and managed to finish in third place.

In the KidSize League Rhoban has managed to become World  Cup champion for the third time. In the TeenSize League Ichiro became the World Cup champion for the ninth time.

After the competition many members of our team spent a few more days in Canada before we went back to Hamburg. In the near future we plan to extend our cooperation with the Wolves. In September they will visit us and we will play test games and work together on scientific papers.


FØld – now available

[originally written by:
The last two days were accompanied with intense preparations: At 8:00 AM we arrived at the exhibition on saturday, in order to prepare our tables, repair our robots, which were slightly damaged during the flight, and, as we mentioned in the previous article, to record some images for our vision.
Unfortunately, when we arrived, we had to face an unpleaseant surprise: The registration was not prepared yet, so we got to stand in line, and wait. And wait. Some time later the organizers decided to let us in without the registration (and our badges) for now. The registration was postponed to some time later.
This inconvenience was promptly followed by another minor problem: Apparently, the organizers had a slightly different idea on what the term „Setup Days“ is supposed to mean. Usually, the setup days are used to prepare the robots and adjust them to the different circumstances at the venue. This year, however, they were also used to set up the hall: Apart from the junior league (for schools/pupils), no league was completely prepared yet. In our league, there was nothing except for the wooden foundation for the fields. Everything else was scattered around. There were not even chairs yet! The organizers did not seem to be able to provide enough manpower to fix this soon, therefore we decided to DIY our fields (as known from this swedish furniture store). Except there was no manual this time. Likewise to products bought from said furniture store, there also were parts missing. Nonetheless, we made up a humanoid-league setup team and took matters in our own hands. This meant we had to lay the grass field, place the markings and perform several other tasks on our own. Especially team Rhoban pulled out all the stops. It still took us until the end of the second setup day to finish all fields. The TC (technical committee) and EC (executive committee) usually are very busy during setup, even without these circumstances, so it came to no surprise when many decisions and announcments about the competition were delayed while coordinating the setup.
One event during the preparation time before the world cup seems to take its revenge now: Pressure from the outside forced the whole local committee to be exchanged, leaving almost every position with someone inexperienced.  
The organizers are mostly experienced in the junior leagues only and the required materials and man hours were vastly misjudged. Especially severe, as the participation fee for the world cup is not minor and thus setup infrastructure and prepared fields would be expected.
Daniel Polani (President of the RoboCup Federation) at the Opening Ceremony

When the world championship was officially started with the opening ceremony on sunday, the president of the RoboCup federation found proper words when he thanked the attending teams for their effort in setting up the required materials and fields.

We are confident that this kind of chaos will not occur again at future RoboCup competitions, because the RoboCup federation will hopefully find ways and means to to support future organizers and demand better terms for the teams.
Marc checks the walking

Regardless of all that, our team, of course, also worked on our robots and software. Seeing how our robots walked was great, because of how stable it is compared to last year. They are now able to walk all across the field without any trouble. On the first setup day, Marc was the first to put a robot onto the field. Accompanied by astonishment from the whole team, the robot just strolled across the field. He was not even bothered by any twists and turns or a side step. What a difference to last year! This strongly contributed to the motivation of our team. A lot of work over the last year went into our vision and ball detection, which also has paid off. We were also able to demonstrate our ImageTagger to other teams and make it attractive to them. The paper that was written about the ImageTagger by Niklas, Marc, and Norman Hendrich was also accepted for the RoboCup Symposium (a short conference ensuing the RoboCup). Other than that, we are working on all kinds of small problems and are looking forward to the rest of the RoboCup.

Setting up the team table

Our new robot for our vision!

We have a new robot.
It has been built completely by us. It sadly does not quite adhere to the rules of our league, because it is not humanoid. It can not even move by it self. It can only move its head.
He is not designed to play in our league though. We wanted a robot that is not complex to use it to generate images for our Imagetagger or to test our vision algorithms. In this robot only three actuators are used. Usually our robots only have two actuators for the head, but with the third actuator we are able to gain another degree of freedom for the head. This allows us the bring the head in a sidewards leaning position. This is not necessary for our robots in a game, but they still move the head in the same way in a normal game, because for example the way they walk. This robot allows us to capture pictures with this in mind and have even more realistic pictures.
The few actuators also allow us to not be dependant on any other parts of the robot and thus reduce the complexity for our use case. We also do not need to use a robot while testing or calibrating and we can work at the same time on our robots that are allowed to play.
Another feature is the height adjustable pole which allows us to take pictures from the perspective of many different robots.

Even though this robot is very simple, it still opens up many new possibilities for our vision.