Monday, July 4, 2011

Our first day...

Welcome to the RoMeLa's 2011 RoboCup blog! We are a team of 11 individuals, 7 from Virginia Tech, and 4 from University of Pennsylvania. Jeakweon Han, "JK", Mike Hopkins, Bryce Lee, Taylor Pesek, Viktor Orekhov, and Derek Lahr, all lead by Dr. Dennis Hong make up the VT contingent of the team. Seung-Joon Yi "SJ", Steven McGill, and Yida Zhang led by Dr. Dan Lee make up the UPenn side.

The RoboCup competition is a well-known, landmark project in the robotics communities. It presents a standard problem of working towards developing a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players that can beat the human world soccer champions by 2050. Building a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots with such abilities requires research and technological advances in many areas in robotics sciences and engineering. Contributing to these areas is necessary to improve the effectiveness and reliability of robots in the real world

We are fielding two different types of robots this year. The first is the latest evolution of the DARwIn Series robots called DARwIn OP.  This robot is an open platform (hence "OP") sponsored by NSF. DARwIn-OP was designed by RoMeLa and all design and fabrication documents are available for free to anyone. ROBOTIS is also selling it if one wants to purchase instead of making one themselves. More information about this little guy can be found here. It will be competing in the kid size league of the RoboCup competition. The anxious team of DARwIN robots include: Lucy, Scarface, Linus, Betty and DARwIn 010. 

Our second competitor is CHARLI-L2.  CHARLI is the brainchild of our talented phd student JK.  Last year in Singapore, CHARLI won third place in the adult size league. Since then though, JK has overhauled the leg design with a clever motor and gear arrangement to improve his performance.  CHARLI-L2 can walk significantly faster (0.4 meters per second!) and with more stability than last year.  We are really excited to see him in action!  

JK looking calm and collected

Packing is always an enormous affair every year we travel to RoboCup.  This year our newest PhD student Bryce Lee pulled together 8 large pelican cases worth of stuff together to accompany the robots including hand tools, spare parts, batteries, chargers, and even a soldering station.  We basically have a mobile robotics lab with all the equipment in the cases, and it will surely get put to good use in the next few days of competition.

This year the RoboCup competition is being held in Istanbul, Turkey. Travel went remarkably smooth this year considering the amount of people and equipment we were with.  We left Blacksburg in the van at 6am on Saturday morning to fly out of DC.  Two flights and close to 24 hours later we touched down in Istanbul and are working off the jetlag by preparing our robots.  JK is upstairs with Mike and Viktor tweaking CHARLI's kicking motion, Bryce has been damage proofing the DARwIns, Taylor performing surgery on Lucy, and Derek got the most important pre-competition task, finding a cheap place to eat.  Tomorrow we head to the venue for the first time to get registered and work out the pre-game jitters.  Looking forward to it! 

CHARLI participates in a group strategy meeting

and one more thing...

Happy Birthday AMERICA

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