Robotics researchers play tag with ... Roomba!



Brown professor Odest Chadwicke Jenkins and his students have invented a new game: RoombaTag. Here's a first-hand account:



We have currently implemented a robot game server and clients for playing the example game of "RoombaTag." RoombaTag follows the basic format of most first-person tag games, where each player's objective is to "tag'' other robots more than they get tagged. Each player controls a single robot given a video feed from their robot's perspective. A successful tag results in scoring a point for the tagger and a momentary freezing of the controls of the tagged robot.



RoombaTag uses our robotic platform, named "SmURV'' (Small Universal Robot Vehicle) in an iRobot Create with a Mini-ITX form factor computer. The Smurv also has a Unibrain Fire-I camera as a visual sensor and an IR emitter attached to the Create functioning as an "IR cannon.'' The ITX machine runs Linux (SLAS distribution) and Player/Stage robot server from a flash memory card, allowing both control of the robot hardware via TCP/IP over wireless and execution of onboard robot controllers.


Game state shared between multiple Smurvs are implemented in a game server. The game server that acts as a mediator, a referee and a switchboard between the set of physical robots and the users controlling the robots through the internet. Users control a robot through a client-side Java application that communicates with the game server.




The Smurv bots are currently controlled using keyboards, but the Brown group plans to replace them with Wii-mote controllers.


To learn more, check out their Robot Learning through Embodied Gaming page.




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