Carnegie Mellon humanoids to provide commentary at RoboCup 2006

Jun 12, 2006

Carnegie Mellon University is sending two small bipedal robots to the RoboCup 2006 World Championship June 14–18 in Bremen, Germany, to provide color commentary for robot soccer matches -- a first for humanoid robots.

The walking robots are perfectly capable of kicking a ball, but in this new application they will instead be moving their heads and bodies to track the soccer ball with their electronic eyes. During the championships, they will provide commentary for matches between teams of four-legged robots that were developed by Sony Corporation.

The silver, 2 1/2-foot-tall robots, named Ami and Sango, will receive wireless input from the Game Controller, the same system that communicates the referee's calls to the four-legged robot players.

The sober Sango and emotional Ami will explain rules from a robot's point of view, identify which team is advancing the ball and dissect fouls for spectators using synthesized voices as well as video monitors that display their commentary in both English and German text.

And though they can't match the vigor of Telemundo's Andrés Cantor and his trademark "GO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-OALLLLL!" they will celebrate by pumping their arms or making other gestures when either team scores.

Manuela Veloso, the Herbert Simon Professor of Computer Science and head of Carnegie Mellon's RoboCup teams, said creating a pair of robot commentators -- entertaining as Ami and Sango might be -- is a challenging technical task that, like robot soccer, demands teamwork.

"From a research point of view, we are trying to solve the observation problem," Veloso said. "We need to map the input from their vision sensors, combined with the wireless information from the Game Controller, into a recognition of the events that are occurring. And then that awareness of events has to be translated into language."

Neither robot can see the entire playing field, so Ami and Sango will share what they see as play proceeds. They also need to coordinate what they say, so they don't repeat or contradict each other.

"They don't talk at the same time," Veloso said. "But if one is explaining a rule and a nice goal is made, the other has the ability to interrupt." Finding ways for robots to work together is a major thrust of Veloso's core research laboratory, CORAL, where robots Cooperate, Observe, Reason, Act and Learn.

The commentary itself requires a degree of intelligence. A goal when the score is tied is much more significant, for instance, than a goal by a team already leading a match 4-0.

"It's a difficult problem because of all these dynamics," Veloso said. "And of course we don't know what's going to be happening in the game."

The robots were developed to expect and respond to a large range of situations. But the team has also included a system called Puppet Master, which allows humans to intervene and prompt Ami and Sango to do or say something if they are not able to autonomously perceive an important event.

The Carnegie Mellon researchers have developed new movements and behaviors for the small bipedal robots, which were developed by Sony, and are exploring possible applications for the watching, walking, talking robots.

On the Net: RoboCup 2006:www.robocup2006.org

Source: Carnegie Mellon University

Explore further: Telerobotics puts robot power at your fingertips

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Chinese smartphone makers win as market swells

37 minutes ago

Chinese smartphone makers racked up big gains as the global market for Internet-linked handsets grew to record levels in the second quarter, International Data Corp said Tuesday.

Full appeals court upholds labels on meat packages

37 minutes ago

(AP)—A federal appeals court has upheld new government rules that require labels on packaged steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat to say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

Connected devices have huge security holes: study

57 minutes ago

The surge Web-connected devices—TVs, refrigerators, thermostats, door locks and more—has opened up huge opportunities for cyberattacks because of weak security, researchers said Thursday.

BlackBerry to buy Germany's Secusmart

1 hour ago

(AP)—German voice and data encryption specialist Secusmart, which helps equip the German government with secure smartphones, says it's being acquired by BlackBerry for an undisclosed sum.

India's Flipkart raises $1 bn to tackle Amazon

2 hours ago

India's top e-commerce company Flipkart said Tuesday it had raised $1 billion (60 billion rupees) in funds as it battles US giant Amazon for supremacy in the hyper-competitive local market.

User comments : 0