We received all our robots back from Aldebaran this afternoon and they have remained healthy though two scrimmages. The first, against UPenn, started out strong even though we had no robot-to-robot communication. It was a fairly high scoring game but we couldn’t hold on. For the tech savvy folks out there, Wils told Brian to bind our robot socket to the broadcast address which meant we only accepted information that was coming from the broadcast address (the address that you can send digital information to and it will be forwarded to everyone connected). However, we didn’t want to receive from the broadcast address we wanted to send to it. It didn’t take long for Wils to realize his mistake and fix it for the second scrimmage later on against MRL.
This was, according to Professor Chown, the best we have looked in a very long time. First off, we were actually communicating with our teammates which allowed us to role switch (and role switch well!) for the first time in a very long time. Since our robots aren’t faster than one another, the robots dynamically decide during the game if they should be defender, offender, or chaser (the one who goes after the ball). So if the ball gets booted down-field by the current chaser, the offender may become the new chaser, the defender the new offender, and the chaser will become the new defender. Josh and Wils spent a while testing this in the lab and after finally getting communication working, it was the first time the fruits of their labor had been witnessed in Mexico. A second improvement we saw was in our localization system (knowing where we are on the field). This is rather important for positioning and during kickoff we saw some really good positioning out of our new particle filter, which relies heavily on the odometry of the robot as it’s walking while correcting with the visual information it’s seeing. You can think of it like being told to walk to your car at full speed, but getting blindfolded for 15 seconds at a time with a split second of time that you are allowed to see your surroundings before being blindfolded again. Since our motion and walk (and therefore odometry) run much faster than the cameras can take pictures, the robot is essentially walking blind for a good portion of time. But Ellis, EJ, and Octavian have worked really hard to get that to where it is and it definitely showed during the scrimmage. We also saw some improved stand-up routines and kicks courtesy of EJ, Dani, and Lizzie that were crucial in recovering from falls and scoring points. The goalie, which Dani and Lizzie have been working on, also looked awesome. It went into a defensive stance to save the ball when appropriate and even booted it across the half line from its goal box. Other kudos go to Ellis for getting separate color table functionality, Chown for getting better post recognition working as well as a color table that seemed to work really well on a field that we had never even played on before (this is pretty rare), Brian and Octavian for getting wireless connectivity to be possible, Josh for the great visual kick decision, the list goes on. We won the scrimmage 1-0 with opportunities for more goals that will be taken advantage of tomorrow morning.
We are playing NTU Robot Pal (from Taiwan) at 10:20am and L3M (joint team from France and Spain) at 6:00pm. If we place first in our pool we go on automatically to the second round robin and if we place second or third we play a intermediate game that is elimination. Hopefully we won’t go out in three strikes, but the team is very confident and we should do pretty well.
Time for some sleep and back at it in the morning!