What some of you may not realize is that the life of a roboticist parallels the life of a total rockstar in many regards. That’s right- loud music, hordes of women, and international travel. Well, mostly just the travel aspect. Also, robots. There are a lot of robots involved. Just like a rockstar.
I had the pleasure of traveling to Istanbul, Turkey last month to attend the 2011 International Robocup. It. Was. Awesome.
The previous contender for largest robotics competition I had attended was the Korean Robot Games Festival in 2010, and I’m just going to come out and say it: Robocup blew it out of the water. I have never seen so many roboticists under a single roof; 3 massive conference halls were packed to the gills with robots and eager students and university faculty. I stuck to the 3rd hall almost exclusively, as it had what I love the most, humanoid robots. We had hundreds of Nao humanoids as well as hundreds of kid-size, teen-size, and adult-size custom humanoid robots. Another big thing to note is that the matches are significantly more exciting as the years pass, and this year was an amazing sight to behold. The kid-size humanoids were fast and agile, and the games had plenty of suspenseful and exciting plays. I watched a few Standard League (Nao) matches as well, but to be perfectly honest, the kid-size stuff was more entertaining. The Darwin-OP platforms would’ve literally run circles around the Nao. Industry competition is a good thing though, perhaps we’ll see some hardware improvements to the Nao in the next few years that will, literally, bring them up to speed.
Here are some pictures (taken on my iPad, unfortunately my camera didn’t survive being in checked baggage) of the event! The full gallery can be found here.
It’s worth noting that Virginia Tech RoMeLa took gold in the Kid-size league with their Darwin-OP based team. Check out their final match vs Japan below!
— Andrew – “Laser Scientist”