RoboEireann to debut soccer robotics at NUI Maynooth

1 Jun 2012

RobotEireann team in action

In the mood for a bit of robotics combined with soccer? Well, RoboEireann will be showing off its soccer-playing robots at NUI Maynooth next Friday. The team recently came second in the 2012 German Open, the annual European robot soccer competition.

The German Open itself took place in Magdeburg recently and featured 38 teams from 12 countries. The teams pitched their robots against each other in knockout rounds to mirror the style of the upcoming European Championships.

RoboEireann overcame teams from Greece, Spain, Portugal and Germany before eventually bowing down to B-Human of Germany in the finals.

So who are RoboEireann? The team is made up of students and staff from the departments of electronic engineering and computer science at NUI Maynooth.

Robot innovations

RoboEireann competes in the Standard Platform League of RoboCup. This is a global research initiative aimed at advancing intelligent autonomous robotics.

Teams must use identical humanoid robot hardware but must develop software that enables robots to understand their surroundings, make decisions and co-ordinate their behaviour without human intervention or remote controls.

Rudi Villing, team coach and lecturer in the NUI Maynooth electronic engineering department, said anybody who has an interest in robotics, engineering or even just soccer might find next Friday’s game interesting.

“While the game isn’t played at the speed of human soccer, there is a huge amount of work and expertise designed into each move the robots make.

“Like standard soccer, we have referees, fouls, sendings off and penalties – so each game can be very eventful,” he said.

The demonstration of robotic soccer will take place from 2-4pm on Friday, 8 June, in the Hamilton Institute at NUI Maynooth. People can email for more information.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic