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.
Aldebaran Robotics, the creators of the well known NAO humanoid robot, obviously have a strong commitment to advancing the state of the art in robotics technology and applications. During the RoboCup 2011 competition in Instanbul they unveiled the 4th generation NAO loaded with new enhancements, improved performance, and features requested and suggested by their rapidly growing user base in leading educational, academic, and research facilities from all over the world.
While the external appearance of NAO V4 may not have changed in obvious ways (don't worry, NAO still has the cute, lovable, boyish character that's made him so popular), the changes under the hood are really impressive and will make it much easier and attractive to users developing robotic applications as well as researchers.
It's really hard to believe that time has zipped by so fast, but never the less, the 25th KondoCup Robot Soccer competition is coming up in just under two weeks. It seems like just yesterday when we were thrilled to cover the first KondoCup Robot Soccer competition featuring our favorite humanoid robots playing a credible, and often hilarious, mini version of soccer.
The teams will be practicing at the Kondo RoboSpot facility in Akihabara this coming Sunday afternoon in preparation for the official matches scheduled for Saturday, June 18th (KHR-class) and Sunday, June 19th (Open class).
After three days of intense RoboGames 2011 action, the 3:3 robot soccer competition came down to the US vs. Japan in the match to determine who would go home with the gold medal.
The Robot Japan team takes on the Innovati team from Taiwan playing robot soccer at RoboGames 2011. Each team has three players. Halfs are 7 minutes long with a short break between the halfs for battery changes.
The 8th annual RoboGames attracts teams from around the world to compete in 60 different events - from dancing androids to fire-breathing combat robots and autonomous cars to soccer playing droids.
The San Francisco Bay Area has long been a rich playground where hard working cogs in the startup machine wrestle valiantly in their cubicles with the coding questions of the ages. 51 weeks out of the year, it's humdrum workday solving the world's technology problems.
And then there's week 52 - RoboGames week...