Virginia Tech’s RoMeLa Rocks RoboCup 2011

RoMeLa takes first place in both the KidSize and AdultSize humanoid soccer competitions at RoboCup 2011. Watch videos of the matches

2 min read
Virginia Tech’s RoMeLa Rocks RoboCup 2011

/image/1889609 CHARLI-2 and DARwIn-OP robots relax in front of the Louis Vuitton Humanoid Cup.

It’s been a wild week at RoboCup 2011 in Istanbul, but we’ve got results for you: Virginia Tech’s RoMeLa has emerged victorious in both the KidSize and AdultSize leagues, and they’re bringing home the stylish and coveted (and stylish) Louis Vuitton Humanoid Cup for Best Humanoid for their AdultSize robot, CHARLI-2. This is big news, since Europe and Asia have historically dominated the RoboCup competitions, and in fact this’ll be the very first time that the Cup (pictured above) has made it to the United States.

/image/1889610 Dr. Dennis Hong (center) rewards a DARwIn-OP robot for a job well done.

We’ll have more details for you in the coming weeks from RoMeLa, their Team DARwIn partners at UPenn, and the other RoboCup teams, but for now, they all deserve a little break. Don’t worry, though: we’ve got a bunch of video including RoMeLa’s team of home grown DARwIn-OP humanoids in the finals, CHARLI-2’s final match, and footage of the non-humanoid competitions as well (definitely don’t miss the Middle Size final). Once again, congrats to Dr. Dennis Hong and the entire RoMeLa team (and their robots) for an impressive performance.


KidSize Final Match: Team DARwIn vs. CIT Brains (Japan).


AdultSize Final Match: Team CHARLI vs. Singapore Polytechnic University’s ROBO-ERECTUS.


Middle Size Final Match: Team Tech United (Netherlands) vs. Team Water (China).


Small Size Final Match: Team Skuba (Thailand) vs. Team Immortals (Iran).


Standard Platform Final Match: Team B-Human (Germany) vs. Team Nao Devils (Germany).


TeenSize Final Match: Team NIMBRO (Germany) vs. Team KMUTT Kickers (Thailand).

For more RoboCup 2011 video, check out both the BotSportTV and DutchRobotics YouTube channels.

[ RoboCup 2011 ]

[ RoMeLa ]

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Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman
LightGreen

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.

"I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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