Friday 3 May 2024

Lange Nacht der Computerspiele - A Night of 1000 Computer Games!

And it certainly was that - a long night! Even though technically only on Tokio time (2pm to 11pm german time), the (more faithfully translated) long night of computer games was a lot of fun! We set up a small piece of Green and had some robots run around - operatable via laptop. And of course, we never tired of repeating (gebetsmühlenartig, if you will) that during game play, the robots are fully autonomous. Unfortunately, we had so much fun, we just about forgot to take pictures of our own! Luckily, the HTWK PR team was well equipped to compensate for that!

But what did you just see there? A Green Screen? Indeed! We developed a new attraction where you can enter the world of our robots - even if just for 1 (one) frame - we're still working on the fully immersive implementation! What's more, we were spontaneously interviewed by TV people - live! in real time! Can you believe it? Picture this: Our attending professor Jens Wagner just walked up to one of our team members, quickly pulled him aside, murmured "TV! live! smile! improvise!" and seconds later - we were already on the air. But it all went well. I'll post the broadcast as soon as I figure out, where it actually aired - it all happened so quickly, but I guess that's showbiz, baby!

We're also very happy to welcome several new team members into our midst. They approached us during the event and by the publishing of this post (sorry for the delay!), they had already visited the lab on their own and started working on our introductory tasks. You, dear dedicated reader of this blog, are of course well aware - there is a lot to do, so we're happy about all the help we can get!

Thursday 2 May 2024

And so it ends...


Here's the 2024 RoboCup German Open final - we worked hard and fought even harder, and the results are noteworthy - we now know what to do until the World Cup in July!

What do you think we should work on next? Let us know in the comments below!

Saturday 20 April 2024

Finished the German Open? - check! Had fun? - check! Won the title? - well, check again.

Stay tuned for the release of the finale tomorrow. We played against B-Human and unfortunately lost 4-1. But hey, what was that? four to one (1)? Yes, we struck a goal and had 2 other major chances, but in the end it was just not enough. But does that mean we can turn the tides over the next three months? Only one way to find out, you know it!

We'll upload the final as soon as we can, we'll update you here, but in the meantime. Check out the entire German Open 2024 Playlist! [Link]

Semi Final - That's some high-risk heart attack stuff right there!


If playing against the HULKs is establishing itself as a new ritual, we probably all need a new cardiologist soon. Like in 2023, the game was full of suspense, robot-battling robots, laughter, groaning, shouting (at referees *cough) ... but goals, too? You will find out by watching the video ;)

You can count on the HULKs to deliver a really worthwhile and entertaining spectacle when we're up against each other! They are a great team that, no doubt, plays at our level and would beat us if we don't pay attention. You can watch the great development of our gameplay from 2008 till today - from searching the ball for 10 minutes straight to dribbling and passing across the whole field. With that, the matches mature and become more and more dynamic and in our match against the HULKs, we depended on every last thing we ever developed. And yet - right up until the end, you can never be sure: Will it have been enough?

A Rematch! A Rematch!


The news is out - last year's spectacular and nerve-racking semi final is bound to get a sequel!

Having fought our way through 5 group rounds, great ups and, well let's call them 'memorable' downs, we made the cut and the opponent du demain (well at least the first one, that is) could hardly be more thrilling and daunting at the same time: the HULKs from Hamburg. So we got our work cut out for us. We collected a whole lot of data with Eindhoven on our mind but that certainly doesn't mean that we're not going to try whatever is possible (and maybe even then some!) to win! If you, dear reader, can't remember the showdown battle royale of Bordeaux, check out the Youtube video I linked on the bottom of this post.


Living la Vida Loca

Well, it's a never ending story. In order to get where you want to go, you need to know were you are. Maybe even where you came from in the first place, but that's bonus information for reasonable people who have their life together and actually know how taxes work. For a robot, there are much more fundamental concerns:
  • When do I turn my head and how fast?
  • Where is the ball?
  • Where am I and if I'm not alone - how many of me are there?
  • Am I unique if and only if I occupy a unique agent state?
  • What is love?
  • Where is the ball?
  • Baby don't hurt me.
  • What is that line over there?
  • Where is the BALL?

 We got into the finer details of localization logic. For instance, as I teased in the first blog post, we're now looking for the ball while getting up under external assumptions where the ball is most likely to be found. Robots that get a lot of action als tend to need a lot of time face down on the field - but falling can be messy and the NAO is not famous for its gracefully feline intuition. So what do? Well, in addition to our revised ball search after the fall, we've tweaked and calibrated various parameters when to - and crucially, when not to - look for the ball. A striker usually doesn't need to run all that quickly, as long as he's consistent; but more control could mean losing the ball less since dribbling would be more precise and we could avoid unnecessary ball-searches. A robot can spontaneously lose sight of the ball, and adjusting the window of blind trust can be pretty


 Here the link to our last match against the HULKs, let's see if we can repeat that!


Friday 19 April 2024

Last Game of the Group Phase: HTWK Robots vs Naova

The final match-up of the group phase put us up against the only non-European team that made its way all the way here to participate in the German Open! I'm of course talking about the Canadian team Naova from Montréal. Naova certainly had a good run this competition - even scoring a goal against the ironclad defenses of B-Human and almost wrangling the mighty HULKs. So there was certainly a sense of nervousness when the first half just wouldn't quite get going as we needed it to. There is no comfort in a 1:0 lead. Luckily, we were able to turn it around in the second half, but I won't give everything away. 

As a bonus treat: our team member Felix and Adrian from R-ZWEI KICKERS are giving commentary and insider knowledge in German - you won't get sound like this in the live stream!

Round 5 - The eternal rivalry reloaded reloaded reloaded reloaded reloaded

For this match we're facing B-Human against whom we've played so many times! Good thing that we just had a break by getting to skip round 4 via Wild Card. But don't worry, it wasn't realxing. More time is just more time to fix what can be fixed, improve what can be improved upon and leave alone what needs to be oh-my-god-don't-touch-it-it-works left alone. This time, however, it might seem like there could be light at the end of the tunnel? Are we getting closer to salvation or is it just a train speeding towards us? Let's us know what you think in the comments!

Round 3 - They are from Berlin, they are united, and they're our next opponent: Berlin United!

Some of our team members only know them from last year's RoboCup but they are a team with a great tradition. This year, they are back again and certainly a competitor not to be taken lightly

Round 2 - The Bots Are Bembling!

Watch our second match of the German Open against the Bembelbots!

We're at the German Open!

No Launchbreak For The Newbies

RoboCup season has begun and we're welcoming our new NAOs into our ranks: Curiosity, Dragonfly, Atlas, Hubble and Genesis joined us last year and made their HTWK Robots debut in Hamburg at the RoHow where we ceremoniously bestowed them with names and honors. In V6 tradition, they've all been named after spacecraft. But now it's time to take off the stabilizers and well, take off!

Lost In Translation?

Unfortunately, the inaugural game could have run a little smoother. In a flash of excitement, Hubble suddenly spent the the entire remaining communication budget in a matter of seconds - in minute 6 no less. Of the first half. Well, that hurt and there is certainly a parallel universe in which that didn't happen and we're all a little happier. But the Nao Devils delivered an astronomical performance in their own right!, although we managed to score the first goal, right after the disqualification was announced, the devil came down to Kassel and took the lead. And after that, well there was no coming back from that. Literally! Because once you exceed your communication budget, all your goals are immediately annulled and no further goals are counted. Could it have been a 3:1? Maybe, but we'll never know what would have happened had the things that did happen not happened. It happens! *Or what would have happened, if I wasn't trying to squeeze as many space references into this first part as possible - you know, like a black hole! But yeah, see for yourself:

Watch your step!

Being able to walk is nice and all - but wouldn't it be nice to als see where you're going? Well, we're doing that already but now we added a new dimension, while getting up, our NAOs stabilize in the final seconds, zeroing in on not falling back over (an infamous problem among virtually every time). But if a goalie get's up after diving in front of the ball, the ball is probably still right there in front of him! In the past, we had to discover that these were moments our oppents would readily exploit and we can't have that! So now not only does the NAO start looking while getting up, but he also starts where the ball is most likely to be! Sounds simple, but unsurprisingly, it has its pitfalls.

We know humanity's best friend but what does that mean for humanoid robots? Well you know where this is going! How cute are they together!

But the humans are also great, a robodog is just unfair competition. It's still wonderful, though, seeing everyone back in one place, hacking together, having fun, spending sleepless nights and just absorbing that community of passionate people!

More updates coming soon!
You can check out the schedule here [Link]
The livestream is available here [Link]

Monday 18 March 2024

Erinnerungen an letztes Jahr



Letztes Jahr hat uns kurz nach unserer Rückkehr aus Bordeaux der MDR besucht und uns interviewt. Hier der komplette Beitrag!

Thursday 14 March 2024

Spin 2030

 Hello Hello Hello!

With championship season fast approaching, we are getting ready to get back in the game. Check out our recent reel on instagram from our time at Spin2030. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!

Tuesday 18 July 2023

RoboCup '23 Review - Game 2, B-Humble

We knew we'd have to play against them eventually, and so our second game made good on that promise. A rematch from last year's final, the RoboCup groundhog day, it's

HTWK Robots vs. B-Human

We knew it was going to be a tough one, and it was. Still working on adapting to the new environment and it's lighting conditions, well, let's say this game laid out a roadmap of what we needed to do moving forward - an upside to having to play against a strong team very early on. If all went well after this, we could be pretty certain to see them again in the final.

This match also featured the visual referee challenge, Ayleen from B-Human tells us all about it at the beginning of the video.

I had already alluded to it - this game did not go too well for us, hence the title of this post. Not exactly shocking, but certainly always a bummer, it's an exercise in humility being reminded of the work ahead. At the end of the video, Thomas, one of our founding team members, gives us a little insight on what we needed to fix over the following days, in German!:

And yes, I will be refining my green screening technique and learn how to keep people in focus, I'm sorry Thomas!

Wednesday 12 July 2023

RoboCup '23 Review - Game 1, running towards the light!

Starting today, we'll take a look at the matches we had during RoboCup 2023. I'll call it RoboCup '23 Review for now, copyright pending. We filmed all our matches and of course, we want to make them available to you. Let's start chronologically:

From the Outback to the Outdoor Field

Match 1 against rUNSWift

The Australian team from the University of New South Wales (UNSW, hence the brilliantly punny name) is a force to be reckoned with. A third place at last year's RoboCup in Bangkok means a certain challenge - especially due to it being our first game of the tournament under less-than-ideal conditions. This time around, two fields were labeled Outdoor Fields and while we weren't granted some fresh air - too bad! - the lighting certainly put everyone through a stress test. The washed out contrasts between turf and lines was pretty disorienting for the Naos - the poor guys didn't even know where to look much less than where to shoot some of the time. On the plus side, the lighting made them look pretty metal before I figured out how to adjust my filming on the fly (for the most part):


 An incredibly unfortunate own goal (from rUNSWift's perspective at least) during the first half gave rise to some confusion - was it the refs fault? Was the rUNSWift player in question bribed? And what role did the fallen robot lying around play? Well, you'll have to see for yourself.

I also interviewed Mikhail, the team leader of rUNSWift - he'll give you some insight into what they were working on and what to watch out for before the video starts, he's a pretty cool guy!

During the half time break, there is another special treat: Our very own team leader Rico explains how rUNSWift had already lost the game on a technicality and how, at the same time, we still hadn't won.

So with no further ado, here is the entire video: