The FIRA Hurocup is an international multi-event sporting competition for humanoid robots that has been held annually since 2002 as part of the FIRA robot world cup, this year hosted by Beijing, China. The HuroCup consists of multiple events that challenge the breadth of robot design and control, emphasizing the development of flexible, robust solutions. Participants earn points across the various events (this year, a long jump, marathon, sprint, obstacle run, soccer penalty kicks, basketball free throws, and United Soccer, where teams are formed dynamically from individual participants without prior interaction). These points then contribute to an overall placement.
This year we fielded two separate teams, small and medium size robots. We placed third in the world overall in the medium size league, accumulating points across the spread of events, including 2nd place in the long jump and 3rd place in the marathon. We also placed first in long jump in the small size division.
For the first time this year, most of the team members were third and second year undergraduate students, so they deserve a huge round of congratulations! Our team leader in Beijing was Meng Cheng Lau, our post-doctoral fellow, and he traveled to Beijing with Andy (Chi Fung) Lung from third year and Colin Waldner from second year. A huge amount of work goes into preparing our robots, and the development involves far more people than we could possibly send in person. Thus the full list of people involved is extensive. In addition to Jacky Baltes and John Anderson and our Ph.D. student Amir Hosseinmemar, the collection of undergraduates that deserve congratulations for their contributions are:
- Kyle Morris
- Abdul-Rasheed Audu
- Chi Fung Lun (Andy)
- Henry Bryan Wodi
- Long Yu (Will)
- Ayobami Ige
- Harry Gu
- Ziang Wang (Daneil) (our only non-Science student, from Engineering)
- Colin Waldner
- Kurt Palo
- Jinxi Guo (Levi)
- Yuan Ding
- Olayinka Basheer Adelakun
Many thanks for all the work you have put in, and for doing this in the middle of the exam period!
Our undergraduate student Kyle Morris is just on his way back from Korea, after our demonstration at the 2016 IEEE International conference on Robotics and Systems (IROS) took second prize in the fourth IEEE Humanoid Application Challenge. The award was a $1000 US robot hand from SEED Robotics, and we were also awarded $2000 US in travel funding. This is the fourth Humanoid Application Challenge (this year it moved from ICRA to IROS; both of these conferences are the premiere IEEE international conferences on robotics). Kyle and the rest of our team (John Anderson, Meng Cheng Lau, Jacky Baltes) are thrilled to have won first or second/finalist prize in this competition every year it has been run. Some of our previous research was the skating and skiing work you can read about in previous stories on the lab website.
This year the competition had a theme, Robot Magic, intended to drive work on perception and dexterity and interaction with humans, and our application was a card trick that involved interaction with a human (including handing off a card deck, speech recognition, speech synthesis, visual recognition of cards, and machine learning).
While we are exceptionally proud of all of our competition wins, the Humanoid Application Challenge is always special because it also directly lets us do even more interesting work with the equipment that is awarded. Two past years have brought us DARwIn-OP robots that we use directly for humanoid robotics research, for teaching in graduate and undergraduate classes, and in robotic soccer and HuroCup competitions. The hand we got this year will be used for upper-body work (e.g. basketball free throws) in Hurocup, as well as allowing us to do more interesting work in using humanoids to manipulate objects.
Congratulations to everyone involved and welcome back, Kyle!
You can watch a video of the entire presentation here.
We just got back from RoboCup 2016 in Leipzig, Germany, where things went really well this year. Like last year we had a joint teen-size team with Amirkabir University of Technology. We came in third in the world in the teen-size (<1.4m) soccer competition. We also took first place in this year's technical challenge competition (push recovery, i.e. a robot being able to remain on its feet after being pushed, high jumps, and high kicks).. Working with larger size robots is a challenge, with greater requirements on servos, batteries, and transportation logistics. Many thanks to our partners at AUT, and the students and faculty from our lab that put work into this: Amirhossein Hosseinmemar, Kile Morris, Abdul-Rasheed Audu, Chi Fung (Andy) Lun, Long Yu, Meng Cheng (MC) Lau, John Anderson, and Jacky Baltes. Jacky, John, MC, and Kyle made the trip to Germany so many thanks for all the hours put in while at RoboCup too! Some of the team are still traveling, so more pictures and video will be available shortly.
We also found out that our bid to bring the event to Canada for the first time (Montreal, 2018) was successful, so congratulations to Jacky for being named the 2018 RoboCup General Chair!
Our joint teen-size team with Amirkabir University of Technology was a huge success at RoboCup! We came in third in the world in the teen-size (<1.4m) soccer competition, losing our semi-final match to Team Parand from Iran, the new world champion. We also won second in this year's technical challenges (push recovery, i.e. a robot being able to remain on its feet after being pushed, goal kicks from a moving ball, high kicks, and high jumps), behind team NTUST Teen from NTUST, Taiwan. Working with larger size robots is a bigger challenge yet than our more usual kid-size work, and reaching the stage where we can place at RoboCup is a big reward. Many thanks to our partners at AUT, and the students and faculty from our lab that put work into this: Amirhossein Hosseinmemar, Chris Iverach-Brereton, Brittany Postnikoff, Dewin White, Jamillo Santos, Kiral Poon, John Anderson, and Jacky Baltes. Jacky, Jamillo, and Kiral made the trip to China so many thanks for all the hours put in while at RoboCup!