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Nao Team HTWK is a great RoboCup team (as shown by the fact that they made the finals last year). They are also my (Chown) favorite RoboCup team outside of the Northern BItes. Very cool people who do really innovative stuff.
They beat us 3-0 today. But we fought them hard and had a couple of great scoring chances. Sort of the story of the tournament for us, things just never quite broke right for us. I am extremely proud of the team though, they performed great under adverse circumstances (I suppose some might say that not having me around was the opposite of adversity), especially considering that there were no seniors on the team, nor anyone with extensive RoboCup experience.
Every game so far has been tight and hard fought. And in every game we just can’t seem to catch the right break that puts us over the top. This morning we played TJ Ark (China), an excellent team that already had played one of the finalists from last year very close (1-0).
The game was tied at halftime. Our goalie made a tremendous save on a point blank shot and was able to clear the ball away. Meanwhile, we had excellent chances but could not cash in.
In the second half we scored first on an amazing goal by Avril (video to eventually follow) and it seemed like it was finally going to be our day, but TJ Ark struck quickly and tied the game up after some defensive confusion.
We tied our second game with a very soccer-like 0-0 score. While it isn’t quite the result that we hoped for, it does still keep us in position to advance to the next stage. The game tomorrow morning with TJ Ark will be crucial.
Both games today were frustrating for the students as we tended to dominate play, but were playing teams that “clump” around the ball. Our teams does much better against better teams oddly, that are more spread out. Clearly something to work on for next year are strategies for dealing with clumping.
We lost the first game 2-1. The accounts from Brazil are that the Northern Bites basically controlled the play, but ran into some very tough luck. One player – Kaylee – freshly back from the clinic where she was pronounced “fit” by Aldebaran, had her ankle give out and so the team had to play a robot down for the entire second half. Just as the Bites were perfectly aligned and prepared to kick, the referees accidentally called timeout, which led to all of the robots being pulled off the field and our field position being essentially lost. The Kangaroos second goal came right at the end of the game on a long kick. We also had a chance on a wide open goal where our attacker “flipped” and kicked the wrong way.
On the good side, our goal was superb and we hope to have video of it coming up.
Things are a bit chaotic in Brazil. There have been many problems with getting the league setup. The fields were not finished being constructed until yesterday. Not all of the fields have working wifi (and “working” is overstating it for the ones that do). The lighting is awful. There has only been internet for about 1/2 day so far. I guess everyone in Brazil was a bit too focussed on World Cup and forgot about the more important “Cup” – RoboCup.
So why is natural light so hard for a robot? It starts with the fact that they have cameras. And like any camera, they function best when the light is even and predictable. Here is a shot taken by a robot at the venue that demonstrates:
Look at the goal post on the left. It looks mostly white but is actually yellow. People are really good at figuring out that it is actually a yellow goal post, but it isn’t easy at all for a robot.