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‘An amazing result’ for our robot team

July 30, 2014 — 

Missed by sports news commentators this month was the news that the University of Manitoba soccer team did very well in Brazil, coming in third behind the German team.

At the RoboCup.

The U of M Autonomous Agents Lab team has returned from RoboCup 2014, which was held in Joao Pessoa, Brazil. The international competition for soccer-playing robots is often co-located with major soccer events and this year it was timed to immediately follow the World Cup.

RoboCup includes both a major soccer tournament and a technical challenge for each of the humanoid leagues. The technical challenge involves a set of robotics skills that contribute to soccer, such as high kicking and dribbling around obstacles.

For the first time, the University of Manitoba entered two humanoid robots: kid-size (45-90 cm) team, which has done so well in previous competitions, and a second “teen-size” robot. As the name implies, the latter was entered in a category of larger robots ranging from 80 to 140 cm in height, and the U of M entry was 105 cm, a size that brings in additional technical and logistical challenges.

The larger size added some technical challenges, so for the first time, the University of Manitoba partnered with another university, Amirkabir University of Technology (formerly Tehran Polytechnic) in Iran, to share expertise as well as materials and logistics. The U of M developed and tested the robot’s software while the Iranians did most of the mechanical design and construction.

John Anderson, head of computer science in the Faculty of Science, says: “Our kid-size robot placed third in technical challenges and did well in soccer but unfortunately did not make the playoffs.”

He adds: “But our teen-size robot placed first in the technical challenges, made the semi-finals in soccer and placed fourth in the league overall. That’s an amazing result for a team that only met at a joint workshop in April; most of the students in the two groups only met one another at the event itself.”

The University of Manitoba team consisted of John Anderson, Jacky Baltes, Amirhossein Hosseinmemar, Chris Iverach-Brereton, Geoff Nagy, Andrew Winton, Joshua Jung and Diana Carrier.


Other robot stories

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Why we obey robots

Our SnoBots — winning at the 2013 FIRA HuroCup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Discovery Channel showcasing our hockey-playing robot




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