Forget the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil because there’s another international football tournament taking place right now – and Ireland’s actually in it! RoboCup 2013 runs from 26 to 30 June in the Dutch city of Eindhoven and the RoboEireann squad from NUI Maynooth is ready for its fifth international outing.
RoboCup is an annual contest for soccer-playing robots from more than 20 nations. As well as being a bit of fun, the tournament serves to advance the development of intelligent autonomous robotics and encourage students to engage with STEM subjects.
Team RoboEireann consists of Tom Whelan, Donagh Hatton, Jeffry de Haas, John McDonald and coach Dr Rudi Villing – all students and staff from the Department of Electronic Engineering and the Department of Computer Science at NUI Maynooth – and their robots. No stranger to international competition, RoboEireann came home from last year’s German Open as a runner-up.
In the RoboCup, RoboEireann competes in the Standard Platform League in which all teams use identical humanoid robot hardware but the software developed by the team is what helps the bots to understand their environs, make decisions and co-ordinate their behaviour without any need for remote control.
RoboEireann is sponsored by Intel Labs Europe, which has announced a new joint research programme with NUI Maynooth on intelligent systems, with particular focus on real-time collective and collaborative intelligence and actuation.
“The RoboCup and NAO humanoid robot platform, based on the Intel Atom processor, is a great research platform, a great learning platform, and the RoboCup competition itself is a great sporting spectacle,” said Intel Labs Europe vice-president and director Martin Curley. “Together we will work on some of the more difficult problems in ambient and collaborative intelligence and also explore how humanoid robots may be of assistance to industry and broader society in the future.”
RoboEireann faces its first match tomorrow against former world champion B-Human from Germany. The match kicks off at 11.40am IST.