In the Standard Platform League, soccer is played with a standardized robot platform, i.e. all teams use the same hardware and only differ in the software they develop. For the eighth time at the RoboCup German Open, the humanoid robot NAO, manufactured by the company Softbank Robotics, is used as standard platform.
NAO is equipped with up to 25 actuated joints. In its head, two cameras are integrated for perceiving the environment. In its chest, sonar sensors measure distances and gyroscopes and accelerometers allow determining the torso’s pose. In the feet there are sensors to measure ground contact and the contact with the ball. Teams of five robots play against each other on a 9 x 6 m² sized field. The robots are completely autonomous. However, through Wi-Fi, they can communicate with each other and receive the decisions of the referee.
This year there are two main innovations: The robots play on artificial grass instead of carpet and the lighting conditions are not fixed anymore, i.e. games can be held next to large windows, resulting, e. g., in sunlight casting directly on the field. The artificial grass is a big challenge for the walking motions of the robots. The variable lighting requires new solutions to exposure control of the cameras and for image processing.
Dr. Thomas Röfer (DFKI Bremen)