RoboCup 2011 dominated by Virginia Tech’s team
Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory team dominated the international robot soccer competition known as RoboCup 2011 which was hosted this past weekend in Istanbul, Turkey. Team CHARLI took first place at the Louis Vuitton Humanoid Cup, the Adult Size class with the humanoid robot CHARLI-2, and the Kid Size class with the miniature-humanoid-robot DARwIn-OP.
“Considered as the most prestigious award for humanoid robots, the Louis Vuitton Humanoid Cup is a beautiful crystal trophy and will be coming to the United States for the very first time”, said Dennis Hong, team leader and associate professor of mechanical engineering. “Since 2002, it has been in Japan for seven years, then Germany took it and had it for two years, and finally the United States – Team CHARLI from Virginia Tech – brings it home.”
In all Virginia Tech’s team took home four major awards from the international competition that is considered one of the most respected competitions in the robotics research community which proposes a soccer match between full-size humanoid robots against the human World Cup human champions by the year 2050. Aside the mentioned first places the team also won Best Humanoid Award and third place in Technical Challenges for Team CHARLI.
Under director and founder Hong, the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) started project Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence (DARwIn) in 2003 to study human locomotion and humanoid robot design. DARwIn 1 was introduced in 2004 and was a revolutionary humanoid robot prototype at the time, and was followed by several iterations. DARwIn-LC and DARwIn-OP were introduced in the past year and their software and hardware are fully open source.
In the Kid Size Class, Team DARwIn defeated several teams, finishing with the 8-1 score against the team from Japan for the championship. Joining Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory was a team of engineering students from the University of Pennsylvania, who are collaborating with Hong’s group on RoboCup competitions involving the Kid Class humanoid robots and the development of DARwIn-OP.
Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence 2 (CHARLI 2) is the second in a series of adult-sized, autonomous humanoid robots built at Virginia Tech. CHARLI 2 is designed and built by doctoral student Jeakweon Han. According to RoMeLa’s blog, CHARLI 2 did not play so well at first, since it kicked the ball out of bounds and walked awkwardly, but ultimately it performed better than expected.
Among other winners there are Germany’s Darmstadt Dribblers who took the first place in the KidSize technical challenge, Team NimbRo who won both the TeenSize competition and technical challenge, Team B-Human who repeated their last year’s success and won the Standard Platform competition, and Japan’s Team JoiTech took the first place in the AdultSize technical challenge.