Bowdoin College's RoboCup team, the Northern Bites, has won the RoboCup 2007 world championship games held in Atlanta, Georgia.
A team from Bowdoin College, a small, liberal arts college in Maine, has captured the top prize in RoboCup 2007, one of the world's premier robotics competitions
The Northern Bites beat last year's champions, the NUBots, of the University of Newcastle in Australia, 5-1 to become the 2007 world champions in the Four-Legged Robot League. The Bites also beat teams from China, Germany, Japan, and Mexico, as well as the team from Carnegie Mellon University, which has one of the best computer science programs in the world.
The Four-Legged League, in which Sony Aibo robotic dogs play soccer, is one of RoboCup's most exciting and popular competitions. Teams of four robots play soccer on a 3x5 meter field for 10-minute halves. The robots use wireless networking to communicate with each other and the game referee (but not with any other humans; the robots operate autonomously, not by remote control). All teams must use identical hardware (the Aibo) with no modificiations allowed, with the result that winners are determined by the effectiveness of their software.
The goal of the international RoboCup soccer initiative is to develop a team of humanoid robots that is able win against the official human World Soccer Champion team until 2050. In some sense the RoboCup challenge is the successor of the chess challenge (a computer beating the human World Chess Champion) that was solved in 1997 when Deep Blue won against Garry Kasparow.
|Currently, there exist a number of different RoboCup soccer leagues that focus on different aspects of this challenge. The Four-Legged League is one of them. In the league teams consisting of four Sony Aibo robots each play on a field of 6 m x 4 m. The robots operate fully autonomously, i.e. there is no external control, neither by humans nor by computers.|
fdf In the most recent 11th "RoboCuop" tournament, held at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, attendees witnessed a competition between microscopic robots that competed within the "Nanogram League". The designed micro robots ranged from 100 to 300 micrometers in size, and therefore the match could only be seen through a magnified broadcast shown on large screens at the event. Two of the participating teams in this challenge came from Carnegie Mellon University. One was led by Electrical Engineering and Robotics Professor Gary Fedder and the other by Mettin Sitti, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics. The teams used different techniques to approach the problem and presented robots powered by electrostatic or electromagnetic field actuation. The "Nanogram League" is hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which hopes to show the advantages and the potential of building and applying very small devices in manufacturing, biotechnology and other industries.
At the center of the competition, the 34 participating teams, who arrived at Georgia Tech from all around the world, competed in one of the four leagues: the four-legged AIBO league - 1st place taken by the "Northern Bites" from Bowdoin College, USA, the small and mid-sized robot leagues - 1st places taken by "CMDragons'07" from Carnegie Mellon University and "Brainstormers Tribots" fromUniversity of Osnabruek, Germany, (including the "Nanogram League", in which the winners were "ETH" from Zurich) and the robot rescue league (1st place taken by "INDEPENDENT" - a team from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology in North Bangkok, Thailand). In addition, robots were tested on their performances in various sport simulations, like one in which they faced a goal guarded by a human player, and the task was to score as many soccer goals as possible.
The organizers of the RoboCup expect that innovative technologies will emerge from this competition, and the most outstanding robots built will be used in practice in different fields. One of the focuses of RoboCup is the developing of robots to be used in search and rescue missions. These robots may save lives in cases where humans are unable to enter because of a dangerous environment.
RoboCup is an international research and education initiative. In 1993 the concept of soccer-playing robots was first looked at, and after 2 years of feasibility study the conference and games were announced. In July 1997 the first official games were held in Nagoya, Japan. Since then, the annual games were hosted by different countries around the world including France (1998), Australia (2000), Germany (2006), and others.