RoboCup Standard Platform Complex Rulebook (Video)

robocup robot soccer

Several readers have asked about the NAO robot teams competing at RoboCup 2011, so we decided to try and put the situation in perspective, and take a look at the rulebook, which turned out to be much more complex than we had imagined.

The RoboCup Standard Platform category was originally designed to be exactly that - a "standard platform". The concept was to create a uniform playing environment where all the teams used the same robots, the same restrictions, and the same advantages. At the same time they would have a free hand to experiment and innovate with the software, AI, and algorithms in order to coax the best performance out of their robots and win the match.


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GENIBO Dog Robot at InnoRobo 2011 (Video)

DasaRobot (Korea) was exhibiting its GENIBO dog robot at InnoRobo 2011 in Lyon, France last week, and Philippe Kervizic of Robotics Business was kind enough to send in this video footage of the performance:

GENIBO appears, in many ways, to be quite similar to the discontinued SONY AIBO canine robot, but according to the company it was deliberately designed to be more "dog-like" in appearance and behavior. It also lists at a significant discount below the old AIBO price tag.

So far we haven't had the opportunity to road-test the robot, and haven't caught sight of one in any of the robot shops and exhibitions here. Hopefully we'll have the chance soon.

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2000 Year Old Computer Replicated Using LEGOs (Video)

Although many people automatically think of LEGO's as children's toys, they are actually a great tool for prototyping designs and even replicating mechanisms that would be difficult, and quite expensive, using other methods.

For example, when Jin Sato fell in love with Sony's AIBO robot dog but couldn't afford to buy one, he recreated the robot using LEGO Mindstorms, and dubbed his robo-canine creation “MIBO”.

Now a journalist (Adam Rutherford) and a designer (Andrew Carol) came up with the idea using LEGOs to recreate the world's oldest known computer, the Antikythera mechanism that is believed to date back to 150 BC, over 2000 years ago.

And, while we're at it, here's Jin Sato's MIBO robot dog celebrating it's 6th  birthday:

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Creative Robot Marketing

I-cybie robot dog

This one really had us chuckling….

 Usually robot builders tend to be very literal and don’t have a highly developed sense of humor or marketing savvy. But themumbys on eBay in Canada apparently is the “exception that proves the rule.”

They recently posted a used I-Cybie robot dog, which is fine-no chuckles there. But, it was the “marketing speak” they used that tickled our funnybone. The i-Cybie is described as a “rare and excellent ‘clone’ of the Aibo” and includes “the extremely rare Programming Card.” And the kicker, the robot dog has already been “pre-modified” to add a serial port. As for the robots operational condition, well the ad states, “The robot worked perfectly last I used him, but I haven’t used him in over a year.

All that being said, it does look like quite a buy, assuming it could be captured at the right price. We may even put in a bid ourselves.

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NAO Robot Racks Up 5 Million Big Ones

We tend to focus on the technology and performance aspects of robots and robot companies we cover, but the business aspects are just as important, if not more so. You can design the best, fastest, most capable robot the world has ever seen, but if you can't get investment capital to fund bringing that great product to the market then it's kind of meaningless.

We've been convinced for a long time that the NAO robot developed by Aldebaran Robotics in France was very, very hot. Now it turns out that they have been able to successfully pitch that same message to key venture capital investors. Last Friday they announced the closing of their first round of venture capital financing with a whopping 5 million euro (approximately  USD $7.35 million) investment lead by CDC Innovation.


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Robot Builder Profile: Jin Sato – Part 1 (Video)

It's been a while since we published one of our 'Robot Builder Profiles', so we thought it's about time that we made up for our shortcoming by posting a series of interviews with one of the best - Jin Sato.

"Jin-san", as he is often referred to by friends here in Japan, is a world class humanoid robot designer and a top ROBO-ONE competitor. Over the past five years he built ten completely new humanoids, an average of two per year, from the ground up. In many cases, he did all the design and hardware fabrication as well as developing the controller electronics and supporting software.

We'll delve into some of his educational, humanoid, and other robotic, projects in upcoming posts, but we thought the most appropriate place to start would be with his earlier LEGO Mindstorms creations, especially his 'MIBO' dog robot clone of Sony's popular AIBO. In the video interview below, Jin demonstrates the original MIBO robot while explaining some of the the robots design features, and why he took on such a daunting challenge.


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Searching For The Next Robot Soccer AIBO

Without a doubt, the most eye-catching and entertaining aspect of the RoboCup competitions so far as been the sight of a whole field of AIBO robot dogs playing soccer for all they are worth. Unfortunately for AIBO fans, robot fans in general, and the RoboCup organization specifically, Sony canceled AIBO production which means that sooner or later a comparable robot replacement will have to take the field.

Of course, no robot could ever completely replace the cute AIBO design in our hearts. Nevertheless, the RoboCup Federation has taken the initiative to issue a 'Call for Tenders: A Standard Robot Platform for Robot Soccer' to all robot manufacturers worldwide, actively looking for a way to continue and extend the standardized robotic platform aspects of the RoboCup competitions.


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Save The AIBO Robot Dog!

The MacPatrice blog in France has created an online petition for AIBO fans worldwide to voice their displeasure and frustration to Sony over the AIBO product cancellation. The petition, in both French and English, as of this morning had already gathered 6 pages of signatures.

Will it help? Will it cause Sony to reverse their decision and revive AIBO? Perhaps not, but it certainly won't hurt to try. Keep in mind that it was only through the action of devoted fans that Star Trek  managed to survive similar cancellations and become legend. Add your name to the petition, and let your friends know about it too!

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Mourning Aibo


It goes without saying, but we're going to say it anyway - "Sony, How could you kill Aibo?" 
Bad Sony, Bad. Right now we feel like tossing our Vaio laptops (we have 3), Cybershot cameras (we have 2), and our Sony televisions (we have 2) in the dumpster to protest.

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