Sunday 20 June 2010

Jammed! - Dark Helmet

As promised earlier, we want to give you some information about robots and their hardware problems.

During training and games the Nao robots fall over sometimes. That doesn't seem to be that bad in the first place. Nearly every team has taught their robots how to stand up from various positions after all. However several joints and other parts are prone to breaking if the robots fall to often. Wrong usage (inefficient walking with high energy and heat throughput) can wear off joints as well, but its mostly the falling that breaks hardware. We even lost parts of our head when falling down during a game in the German Open 2010.

Like most teams we were doing intensive testing and training the last few months before traveling to Singapore. Therefore only one out of out four robots was able to play as we arrived here. Two of the damaged ones had problems with their cameras, hips and ankles so they barely could stand upright or process images. The other damaged one wasn't able to stand up at all. A survey made by the SPL organizers here in Singapore showed that out of all Nao robots (nearly 120 total) only 18 were still working as they should. Even teams with eight or more robots had only one or even none of their robots ready to play.

Luckily Aldebaran Robotics, the manufacturer of the robots, is here at RoboCup as well and fixes the robots for all teams - they really have a high workload. They also improved the hardware of the robots several times already. Therefore we weren't able to enjoy the view of an robot head bouncing off of the fallen body and rolling into the goal for this this year. (But we promise to keep our camera ready so you can watch it as well as soon as it happens :D )

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