One near miss and two saves.
We lost our second game 4-0 to UChile. They were a semi-finalist last year and are an excellent team. One of their team members is doing a PhD on robot locomotion and it shows. They walk smoothly and much more quickly than us and their kick is beautiful. For our part we were still hampered by the wifi issues, but less so than in the first game. Our goalie was definitely our star player with a couple of very nice saves and one near miss that would have been spectacular. Video to come.
Our first game was against longtime friends and rivals Nao Devils from Dortmund, Germany. We have had a lot of great battles over the years (e.g. the semifinals in 2009 that were decided on PKs) and we count them as great friends. Unfortunately for both teams the league is experiencing major wifi issues. In a way, it is worse than if there was no wifi at all, as robots are getting “packets” about a minute or so after they were sent. So all of the information they get is old and therefore wrong. We actually have strategies in place for no wifi, but not so much for this situation.
We had a great start, scoring a goal after a nice long kick early in the first half. At this point things sort of fell apart for both teams as neither realized the goal had occurred and therefore spent the rest of the half fairly confused. The story was similar in the second half. We completely dominated play, but several of our robots were “flipped” and didn’t know which side they were on (the field is symmetric). Normally we deal with this using wifi (e.g. the goalie tells the other players the ball is near it) but with the wifi situation that wasn’t possible. So we ended up scoring an own goal. The Nao Devils felt terrible about this and all actually apologized for tie-ing us.
Our next game is in just over an hour and a half and we are busily scrambling to come up with a strategy to deal with the wifi situation. Sadly (or not), this is the essence of RoboCup – you spend a year getting ready for something and you encounter something completely different.
We are in China getting ready for RoboCup. First matches are tomorrow, though we have Drop-In Challenge games starting today. Everything is going well with the usual RoboCup issues – fields are thin carpet on top of concrete, one side of the field slants away so the ball rolls by itself, the tape they used was coming off, . . .
The trip to China was long and tiring. We arrived in Hefei after more than 30 hours of traveling only to get seriously delayed as RoboCup reps scrambled to find transportation for everyone. We ended up in our hotel well after 2 A.M., about three hours after landing.
The venue is pretty nice and the volunteers are the friendliest people in the world. They are eager to give you free water, or run to the Apple Store to buy you Ethernet-Thunderbolt cables. That part has been great.
We leave for China tomorrow morning. We just got notified of the schedule today. It can be found here. We promise to post a lot more in the coming days. I had hoped we’d have a picture of our cool new uniforms ready to put up, but I haven’t gotten one from the team yet. Meantime, here is a picture we took the other day when we invited Bowdoin’s new President to come. The apparent health of the robots in the picture is quite misleading. Basically they are all broken in one way or another.
Now that everyone has finally made it home and are healthy, we’ll be able to start getting some video.