Here’s a link to the live stream. They hop around to lots of different fields so it might be tough to catch us, but they might show our games too. We will try to lure the camera man over.
We tied Penn 1-1… lots of comm failures on field D. Still not sure what caused our issues, but hope to have better results tomorrow. There were a few behavior bugs that cropped up, but it seemed to be mostly comm that was holding us back. Frustrating because there’s not much we can do to control that part.
First game tomorrow at 11:20 am local time!
Thought we’d write a quick status update today.
Localization is looking awesome! We seem to rarely lose track of where we are, so that is awesome for making quick decisions and generally looking intelligent. This was helped by lots of vision refinements and proper identification of corners.
Comm/WiFi is working… sort of. Field D, which we are playing our first round robin pool on, is closest to the other leagues and has the worst interference. So it might be hard to start playing, but should get easier as the competition goes on.
Goalie is making progress and is getting smarter by the hour.
Our approach to the ball looks great. We are orbiting better and not walking through the ball as much anymore.
We have a scrimmage at 8:30 local time, that’s 2:30pm EDT and 11:30 PDT (Hi Mom!).
More details to come after that . Stay tuned!
Here’s a link to the timetable for this year’s competition. Results are located on a link on the left side of that page.
For those of you not wanting to follow a link, our first set of games are:
vs Austrian-Kangaroos @ 11:20 am
vs Bembelbots @ 2:40 pm
vs Nao Devils @ 6:00 pm
If we win, or place in 2nd, we move on to the second round robin pool, otherwise we play an elimination game in an attempt to move on.
I know one question I get from my parents a lot is “Who is going with you to RoboCup?” I always have to answer, “People you don’t know.” In order to remedy that situation, I’ve decided to write a post providing a bio for everyone on the team this year. Hopefully, this will entertain all of you Northern Bums (that’s Northern Bites Alumni for the unelightened) as well.
Eric “Big Smooth” Chown
Lizzie “Code-boss” Mamantov
Lizzie is basically a a BAMF. She got into Michigan’s Ph.D. program for Computer Science and wants to keep exploring cognitive robotics. That’s robotics from a more human than math-heavy approach for the layman. She’s getting her research started early this summer, hoping to avoid things like adjusting camera parameters (a topic in which she is the team expert) in favor of conquering new territory in areas like cognitive localization, which she has prototyped with our goalie. She might not be looking into that specific topic in her later research, but hopefully something just as exciting as watching a robot spin around in the goal while shouting “WHY ARE YOU SPINNING!!” is in her future.
Wils “New Comm” Dawson
Wils spent the majority of his junior spring and senior fall working on the team’s new wireless communication system. He might not be the first to tell you it took way too long for a product that isn’t all that great in the first place, but he will admit that he learned a lot about when to stop digging and give up. For example, he tried to fix worldview, our tool that lets us see where robots think they are on the field live. After three days he gave up, and it is now running with several bugs that have no intention of ever being fixed. At least until future generations of Northern Bites say, “What is this crap?!”. Wils is hoping that he won’t have to give up on anything else during this year’s competition.
EJ “Big Mon” Googins
Easily the team’s toughest member, EJ brings more than just his size to the team. After abandoning his once lofty dreams of a dynamic kick engine, he is the first Northern Bite in recorded history to write a localization system capable of consistently and reliably positioning our striker right in front of where the ball will be placed on kickoff. The other field players … well… more of a crap shoot, but they usually stay on their side of the field. Also the team’s expert jokester, EJ specializes in convincing certain members of the team (whom you might guess later in the post) of ridiculous stories and “facts”, which the rest of the team finds quite enjoyable to witness.
Josh “Game Controller” Zalinger
Last year, Josh was awarded the verbal honor of “Best Game Controller in the league” several times. Whether that’s because he’s good at clicking a mouse or good at being really loud and obnoxious to the assistant referees is yet to be determined. But one thing is for sure, he is the best. When he isn’t game controlling, Josh can be found working on our behavior system or charging batteries (contrary to popular belief, it is an art). Josh is also the author of our “Hack Kick Decider” which was designed to serve us in a pinch and has done its duty proudly for two years.
Ben “Bende” Mende
A combination of bending and mending, Ben patches up the vision system with the best of them. With so many holes and irregularities and messy code, what’s not to love? Nice, clean, easy to work with systems are for the weak. Though sometimes his projects get delayed, we know Ben will come around and produce a product that will eventually run fast enough to use on the robot. To be fair, his robot detection stuff worked pretty well. As our token Frenchman, Ben will be in charge of interfacing with Aldebaran. Here’s hoping he is up to the challenge! Also it’s his birthday today. Happy birthday Bende!
Josh “Gullible” Imhoff
A juggler, not just of the orange game balls, but of various systems in our code, Josh is running the gauntlet, soaking up as much knowledge as possible before the recently graduated alumni move on from the team into Northern Bumhood. Perhaps his best contribution is the new addition of dribbling to our behavior. We have yet to break it out against another team, but are looking forward to seeing how it goes. Never failing to succumb to EJ’s trickery, Josh has become one of the easiest people on the team to trick. We haven’t determined yet if it was just lack of sleep, or if his personality changed this summer, but I have a feeling we won’t find out very soon.
Daniel “I’ll Give You a Dollar” Zeller
Always trying to get teammembers to do silly stuff, Daniel takes an intelligent tack in offering the victim(s) a dollar first. But nobody paid him to make a sweet orbit or a rockin’ penalty kicker. Known for blasting Toto’s “Africa” in the lab, Dan enjoys his classic music, even entertaining Bowdoin Security at wee hours of the morning. Possessing one of the more powerful pats on the back of any teammate, Daniel knows how to give congratulations when they are in order. As an experienced traveler to exotic places such as Africa, Dan knows perfectly well which power adapters to buy for the team… oh wait… you mean it comes in European to European? Oops.
And that’s the team. Hope you all enjoyed the short synopsis! More videos and information to come!
We are here at the venue. This morning consisted of struggles to get internet, power, final lighting conditions, food and water, and some moral. Lizzie arrived with cupcakes and Ben came with water (9 half liter bottles for just a euro!) and some other snacks as well. With food in our bellies and moral lifted, we determined that the lights we not going to change in the venue any more. This is important because it lets us calibrate our robots’ cameras with confidence we won’t have to go through the process again. Everyone started taking some pictures and soon after, we had a bunch of logs to create a color table so our robots would know which colors to look for in the images their cameras take. Chown made us a “very good” color table, which is very rare on the first day. Usually we struggle to get a solid table for a few days, but this competition looks promising so far.
Internet also has worked out, pretty magically. We only had to wait 5 hours before we got ethernet at our table and we are told that the wifi access points for our robots are working, though we do not have the correct IP addresses for them quite yet. Power, on the other hand, is a bigger worry. Josh and Wils found that out the hard way, after blowing a fuse in their hotel room trying to charge our batteries. After a pop, some sparks, and smoke, they found out that our power strips are only rated to 125 volts. As you may or may not know, Europe uses 240 volts. But everything was ok. We have a transformer to convert the voltage! POP!!! … Apparently it isn’t an actual transformer… So we are using the limited number of adapters we have, most of which are not grounded, to power our computers and charge our robot’s batteries. Ben made a journey to get more adapters and returned with two more grounded ones. While Dan ventured forth to return with the wrong kind of adapters, but at least he got 6 of them.
Here are some pictures of the venue. Games do not start until Thursday, so don’t get too excited yet, but we will try to keep you entertained with some friendly scrimmages and the like.
After arriving at our hotel and having lunch generously paid for, many of us Northern Bites turned to the comfort of our pillows, while Chown dawg and EJ stopped by the pool. Some of the team also ran into rUNSWift, a team from Australia who had made a 25+ hour trip. Glad we didn’t have to do that. Heading to the venue tomorrow morning at 8, be sure to check back for pictures and more fun stories. Hoping not to repeat the search for Turkish pizza (see relevant blog post circa July 2011).
Leaving Boston, the TSA bag checked our robots before deciding they were too cool to be dangerous, but it was probably mostly the lack of chemical signatures in their tests. Flight got in on time with no hassles. After a quick bite to eat, hopefully resetting our internal clocks, we picked up our bags and got through customs. And headed out on the train. Here’s a view from the flight
Not to the races, but to something just as exciting. The Northern Bites are heading out of Brunswick bound for the Netherlands. It will be a long, trying journey through bus station, airport, train station but the team is confident it can make it and bring the robots along too. No doubt there will be stories of EJ’s heroic airport good sightings, or Daniel’s expert guidance through immigration. Stay tuned!
Instead of the usual summer lab of Searles 223 this summer, in cooperation with the Department of Theater and Dance, we are some of the last occupants of the Maine Street Station Dance Studio before Bowdoin moves to the former Longfellow School. The robots had a good time dancing while we finished setting up. Here’s some pictures: