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Legged League

The ERS-210A.

In the Sony four-legged robot league, Sony Aibo robots compete, four on each team. Since the hardware is identical for all teams, the focus of this league is on robotic control, sensing (including computer vision), and localization algorithms, as well as on team coordination and strategic reasoning.

Our team built up its code base from scratch, starting in January 2003. We originally used the Aibo model ERS-210A, but when Sony stopped producing them, we decided to switch to the newer model, the ERS-7.

The new ERS-7.

There are four main problems to solve in the legged league: vision, localization, locomotion, and coordination.

Vision is the process of identifying things on the field. This includes everything from figuring out what colors things are, to recognizing the lines on the field. Even the slightest change in lighting conditions can make vision nearly impossible.

Localization is determining where on the field the robot is. Localization relies very heavily on vision (so it can calculate its position using landmarks), as well as odometry, which tells the robot how it is moving. Localization is one of the most complex parts of our code

Locomotion is getting the robot to move. First and foremost, we want the robot to move quickly. However, we also would like the robot to move reliably, steadily, and such that we don't inflict too much wear and tear on the robot's joints. While locomotion might seem like something that you solve once and are done with, we are constantly tuning and tweaking our walking code.

Coordination is the one problem that sets RoboCup Soccer apart from many other robotics domains. Put simply, our robots need to work as a team. It is not enough for each robot to want to score a goal - if we did that, there would be just a big pile of robots trying to get the ball. Our robots need to work with each other, and against the other team, at the same time.


Aibo Highlights

This video shows highlights (both shots and saves) from demonstrations held during Explore UT on March 7, 2009.

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