I know one question I get from my parents a lot is “Who is going with you to RoboCup?” I always have to answer, “People you don’t know.” In order to remedy that situation, I’ve decided to write a post providing a bio for everyone on the team this year. Hopefully, this will entertain all of you Northern Bums (that’s Northern Bites Alumni for the unelightened) as well.
Eric “Big Smooth” Chown
Lizzie “Code-boss” Mamantov
Lizzie is basically a a BAMF. She got into Michigan’s Ph.D. program for Computer Science and wants to keep exploring cognitive robotics. That’s robotics from a more human than math-heavy approach for the layman. She’s getting her research started early this summer, hoping to avoid things like adjusting camera parameters (a topic in which she is the team expert) in favor of conquering new territory in areas like cognitive localization, which she has prototyped with our goalie. She might not be looking into that specific topic in her later research, but hopefully something just as exciting as watching a robot spin around in the goal while shouting “WHY ARE YOU SPINNING!!” is in her future.
Wils “New Comm” Dawson
Wils spent the majority of his junior spring and senior fall working on the team’s new wireless communication system. He might not be the first to tell you it took way too long for a product that isn’t all that great in the first place, but he will admit that he learned a lot about when to stop digging and give up. For example, he tried to fix worldview, our tool that lets us see where robots think they are on the field live. After three days he gave up, and it is now running with several bugs that have no intention of ever being fixed. At least until future generations of Northern Bites say, “What is this crap?!”. Wils is hoping that he won’t have to give up on anything else during this year’s competition.
EJ “Big Mon” Googins
Easily the team’s toughest member, EJ brings more than just his size to the team. After abandoning his once lofty dreams of a dynamic kick engine, he is the first Northern Bite in recorded history to write a localization system capable of consistently and reliably positioning our striker right in front of where the ball will be placed on kickoff. The other field players … well… more of a crap shoot, but they usually stay on their side of the field. Also the team’s expert jokester, EJ specializes in convincing certain members of the team (whom you might guess later in the post) of ridiculous stories and “facts”, which the rest of the team finds quite enjoyable to witness.
Josh “Game Controller” Zalinger
Last year, Josh was awarded the verbal honor of “Best Game Controller in the league” several times. Whether that’s because he’s good at clicking a mouse or good at being really loud and obnoxious to the assistant referees is yet to be determined. But one thing is for sure, he is the best. When he isn’t game controlling, Josh can be found working on our behavior system or charging batteries (contrary to popular belief, it is an art). Josh is also the author of our “Hack Kick Decider” which was designed to serve us in a pinch and has done its duty proudly for two years.
Ben “Bende” Mende
A combination of bending and mending, Ben patches up the vision system with the best of them. With so many holes and irregularities and messy code, what’s not to love? Nice, clean, easy to work with systems are for the weak. Though sometimes his projects get delayed, we know Ben will come around and produce a product that will eventually run fast enough to use on the robot. To be fair, his robot detection stuff worked pretty well. As our token Frenchman, Ben will be in charge of interfacing with Aldebaran. Here’s hoping he is up to the challenge! Also it’s his birthday today. Happy birthday Bende!
Josh “Gullible” Imhoff
A juggler, not just of the orange game balls, but of various systems in our code, Josh is running the gauntlet, soaking up as much knowledge as possible before the recently graduated alumni move on from the team into Northern Bumhood. Perhaps his best contribution is the new addition of dribbling to our behavior. We have yet to break it out against another team, but are looking forward to seeing how it goes. Never failing to succumb to EJ’s trickery, Josh has become one of the easiest people on the team to trick. We haven’t determined yet if it was just lack of sleep, or if his personality changed this summer, but I have a feeling we won’t find out very soon.
Daniel “I’ll Give You a Dollar” Zeller
Always trying to get teammembers to do silly stuff, Daniel takes an intelligent tack in offering the victim(s) a dollar first. But nobody paid him to make a sweet orbit or a rockin’ penalty kicker. Known for blasting Toto’s “Africa” in the lab, Dan enjoys his classic music, even entertaining Bowdoin Security at wee hours of the morning. Possessing one of the more powerful pats on the back of any teammate, Daniel knows how to give congratulations when they are in order. As an experienced traveler to exotic places such as Africa, Dan knows perfectly well which power adapters to buy for the team… oh wait… you mean it comes in European to European? Oops.
And that’s the team. Hope you all enjoyed the short synopsis! More videos and information to come!