RoboCup humanoid league: Interview with Jasper Güldenstein


RoboCup is a global scientific initiative with the purpose of advancing the state-of-the-art of clever robots, AI and automation. The annual RoboCup occasion returned to an in-person format for 2022, happening from 13-17 July in Bangkok. RoboCup contains a variety of leagues, with maybe probably the most well-known being the soccer leagues.

Within the Humanoid League, autonomous robots with a human-inspired physique plan and senses play soccer towards one another. We spoke to Jasper Güldenstein, a member of the technical committee, in regards to the competitors at RoboCup 2022, and in addition in regards to the Humanoid League Digital Season. As a biweekly digital competitors happening between the bodily RoboCup occasions it offers groups with a chance to check their concepts and keep up a correspondence all year long.

May you give us an outline of the Humanoid League competitors at RoboCup this yr?

This yr we had the primary in-person occasion after a 3 yr break. It was actually good to have nearly all of the groups coming again collectively and dealing on their robots once more. Though a whole lot of groups got here with fewer individuals than they often do, we nonetheless managed to have 12 groups within the child dimension league and three groups within the grownup dimension. Sadly, some groups couldn’t take part as a consequence of journey restrictions, however we hope to see them again subsequent yr.

Humanoid teamsHumanoid league finalists with their robots

What was the format for the competitors?

At the start we had a drop-in spherical, which is the place we play video games with one robotic from every crew taking part in a joint crew. So, we’ve got eight robots taking part in from eight completely different groups. That’s helpful for locating out which groups are more likely to carry out the most effective within the competitors. Subsequent, the outcomes from the drop-in video games have been used as seeding for the spherical robin part of the common competitors, with the strongest groups separated into completely different teams. After the spherical robin, we’ve got a knockout competitors. The seeding technique signifies that we will hopefully keep away from the scenario the place excellent groups get kicked out early. We noticed that probably the most fascinating video games have been in the direction of the tip of the competitors when the groups carried out very well.

Have you ever seen enhancements because the final bodily competitors?

I’d say undoubtedly that one huge factor that has improved for lots of groups is the localisation. A variety of groups are extra simply in a position to localise themselves on the sector, and so they don’t run off randomly. They’re extra sure that they’re within the appropriate place.

Moreover, I believe the kicking has improved. The robots kick the ball a lot additional than they used to. Individuals have been tuning their kicking motions to extend the space.

When it comes to laptop imaginative and prescient, this has undoubtedly improved fairly a bit. One thing we did in another way this time, which was impressed by what we did within the digital season, is that we had a set of six completely different balls, all from earlier FIFA competitions. For every sport a ball was drawn randomly, so the groups couldn’t actually put together for all of the balls. Though they have been visually fairly completely different, the groups didn’t actually have any issues detecting the ball. We’ve seen, usually, that laptop imaginative and prescient approaches have improved and these enhancements have been transferred to the RoboCup competitors. I believe that the majority groups are utilizing a neural community to detect the ball. This can be a change from three, 4, 5 years in the past, the place many groups used hand-tuned classical laptop imaginative and prescient algorithms.

To speak a bit extra about ball detection, will probably be fascinating to see what occurs if we transfer to an setting with pure and/or various gentle situations. This yr we have been in a conference corridor with uniform lighting. I imagine subsequent yr, in Bordeaux, there’s going to be some type of pure gentle coming in, and maybe even fields which might be outdoors. It’s nonetheless on the starting stage however we’re wanting ahead to that. It will likely be a problem and I strongly imagine that the individuals will discover approaches to make their imaginative and prescient strategy sturdy towards these various situations.

Teams in actionThe setup and testing for the Humanoid League competitors at RoboCup 2022, Bangkok.

Eager about the switch from the simulation to the actual world, are there any particular parts that lend themselves effectively to being transferred?

When it comes to laptop imaginative and prescient, we had a little bit of switch. Within the digital season we concentrated so much on altering the lighting situations and having different backgrounds, to have the ability to emulate the actual world a bit higher. I believe a couple of groups used their imaginative and prescient approaches from the digital season in the actual world.

Nonetheless, I believe the strongest half is behaviour. Groups have been in a position to take a look at their methods within the digital competitors and adapt each different week. For instance, CIT Brains, which received the digital season and the bodily competitors, made fairly a couple of modifications to their technique and so they had sturdy techniques working. Their technique labored very well, and within the ultimate they managed to attain a number of targets win towards the earlier world champions (Rhoban Soccer Membership).

How did the competitors go on your crew (Hamburg Bit-Bots)?

We truly had fairly a couple of {hardware} issues, particularly on the mechanics facet. The motors are carrying out and warped as a consequence of put on, and flexed greater than we anticipated. This meant we had difficulties strolling stably. And, for those who can’t stroll in a steady method that defeats the aim of the whole lot else. It’s a very built-in system – if one part breaks, you’re out of luck as you’re very restricted in what you may change throughout the competitors as you don’t have a lot spare tools with you.

Nonetheless, what was good for us was that we had a whole lot of software program up and working, and a whole lot of it had been examined very well throughout the digital league. We needed to attempt to discover a means around the strolling downside algorithmically, to attempt to discover strolling parameters that have been extra steady. We additionally switched from [robot operating system] ROS 1 to ROS 2 which introduced with it many challenges. We truly did a write up on the problems we confronted, with some methods and suggestions.

Will there be a brand new digital league season this yr?

Sure, we’ve mentioned this in our technical committee and we plan on doing it once more. The final occasion was profitable and the groups loved it. We plan on making some modifications, corresponding to logging the video games to extract some fascinating metrics and performing some evaluation on these.

One other factor we need to do is area randomisation, making the setting a bit extra different. Because of this the approaches should be extra sturdy. The hope is that, when they’re extra sturdy, they are often transferred extra simply to the actual world. We have been enthusiastic about making the terrain barely uneven. One other strategy may very well be to change the fashions of the robots such that the joints emulate a bit of damage, so that they simulated actuators may be a bit weaker or stronger randomly, and groups have to search out sturdy approaches to cope with that.

We received’t do the whole lot originally. We’ll transfer via the season and speak to the groups and kind some organising teams to develop the simulation additional, to run the video games and to organise the competitors itself. We’re all the time blissful to have enter and we all the time speak to the groups to see what they assume. It’s a contest however it’s one thing we construct collectively.

Robots at the humanoid league BangkokHumanoid robots at RoboCup 2022, Bangkok.

May you inform us in regards to the satellite tv for pc occasion that befell at RoboCup?

This was a dialogue about easy methods to get groups extra all for taking part and easy methods to bridge the junior leagues and the most important leagues.

We all know that some individuals who participated in RoboCup Junior particularly chosen a College that has a RoboCup crew in order that they might be a part of that crew. It will be superior for extra individuals to do that, and for extra juniors to know what the most important league is about.

To bridge the hole between the junior and main leagues we don’t need to introduce one other league, however we wish some type of occasions the place the 2 teams can meet, and the place the juniors can exhibit how effectively they’re doing. It will be good to have extra interplay between the leagues, though we haven’t selected the precise format but.

About Jasper


Jasper Güldenstein is a PhD scholar at College of Hamburg. His analysis focuses on humanoid navigation. He has been taking part in RoboCup as a member of the Hamburg Bit-Bots since 2016 the place his focus is growing not solely the software program of the crew but in addition the electronics of the robotic platform. In his latest grasp thesis he evaluated utilizing reinforcement studying to carry out path planning and execution for humanoid robots.

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Lucy Smith
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