Sunday, June 20, 2010

RoboCup 2010

This weekend, I stayed in Singapore again and volunteered at Robocup 2010! RoboCup is an international robotics and AI competition, it is hosted in a different location each year. There are 4 main divisions to the competition - Soccer, Home, Rescue, and Junior. This year's competition was hosted by Singapore Polytechnic University, so most of the volunteers were college students about my age and the officials were professors from the university.

The RoboCup competition was held at the Suntec Convention Center in downtown Singapore, which took me about 45 minutes to get to by public transportation. I walked about 10 minutes to the closest public bus stop behind our dorms, then took a bus to the Harbor Front MRT train station. From Harbor Front, I took the north-east train to Doby Ghaut, where I switched to the circle train and took that to the Esplanade station downtown. Luckily the Suntec building was right next to that MRT station, so I didn't have to do much walking around by myself downtown.

According to their official website, the goal of the RoboCup Soccer is to develop a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots by 2050 that can win against the human world champion team in soccer. This is a medium-sized humanoid robot soccer team.

RoboCup at Home focuses on developing real-world applications and human-machine interaction with autonomous robots that can assist humans in everyday life. So these robots are designed differently (more bot-looking and less humanoid looking).

One major application of RoboCup technologies is search and rescue in large scale disaster situations. This is just part of the Rescue obstacle course that the robots will compete on.

We hosted Robocup at Georgia Tech in 2007, where I had fun volunteering as a referee in the Junior Soccer division. RoboCup occupied the entire 5th floor of the CRC, which is the only time in my 4+ years at Tech when I have seen the basketball courts completely used by an outside conference. Usually Tech and the CRC make a big deal out of reserving a few basketball courts specifically for student use, but I guess RoboCup just paid the extra fee to rent out the entire venue.

This year I was assigned to help with the setup for the Junior division tables and with Junior registration. RoboCup Junior is targeted at primary and secondary school students, providing consistent challenges from year to year and emphasizing the sharing of ideas in a friendly learning environment. With a few other volunteers, I labeled every single one of these tables for the 300 teams in the Junior division.

Here is what the Junior soccer tables look like. The playing field is smaller, so the kids in the competition can build smaller and less sophisticated robots than the ones in the humanoid competition (shown above).

Then we ate lunch together, we had something called Biryani which was essentially curried rice, chicken and vegetables. It was wayyyy spicier than the guys told me that it would be, but it was good.

And apparently I was supposed to just dig into it with my hands, but I just decided to stick with the fork and spoon. The other volunteers just laughed at me and dug in, this is the guy that they called the vacuum cleaner for how much he ate.

There was some kind of traditional Malaysian music performance during opening ceremonies, which was cool.

And tons of Europeans at the competition were sporting those awkward length pants that are really capris, also known as "man-pris". I also saw quite a few guys wearing terrible jorts (jean shorts) that were the awkward capris length, but unfortunately was only able to capture this guy in the man-pris.


Post a Comment