Saturday, March 2, 2024

Interview with Roberto Figueiredo: the RoboCup expertise

Five people holding kid-sized robots
Roberto Figueiredo is a grasp’s scholar on the College of Aveiro. He’s a member of the Daring Hearts RoboCup crew which competes within the Humanoid KidSize soccer league. He’s at present the native consultant for the Junior Rescue Simulation. We spoke to Roberto about his RoboCup journey, from the junior to the most important leagues, and his expertise of RoboCup occasions.

When was your first RoboCup occasion and which competitors did you participate in?

I began in 2016 within the Junior leagues with my highschool and I took half within the rescue simulation competitors (though I initially joined the on-stage competitors). This primary occasion really occurred in Portugal, and it was just like a workshop. We certified to go to the world cup in rescue simulation, in Leipzig, Germany, and we ended up in second place. That was very nice, and it was my first contact with RoboCup, and with robotics usually. I’d been working with electronics previously, however simulation gave me a little bit of an introduction to the extra theoretical features of robotics, and to AI usually. Rescue simulation makes you consider methods to make the robots impartial and never manually managed by people.

RoboCup team in front of the rescue setupRoberto’s first RoboCup in 2016, Leipzig, pictured with the Singapore crew celebrating after the finals.

May you inform us in regards to the subsequent RoboCup occasions that you simply took half in?

In 2017 we certified to go to Nagoya, Japan, which was not simply a tremendous RoboCup, however a tremendous journey. That’s one other benefit of robotics, you get to fulfill lots of new individuals in new international locations. We did fairly properly on this competitors as properly, I feel we reached fifth place.

After that we went to European RoboCup Junior in Italy. The next yr was my final RoboCup as a junior, which was in Sydney. That was additionally an attention-grabbing occasion and I acquired to speak a bit extra with the majors and perceive how their groups labored. By this level, I had gained extra expertise, and I felt able to become involved with a significant league RoboCup crew.

There’s a massive hole between the junior and main leagues. After I joined my crew (the Daring Hearts), many of the crew have been PhDs and I used to be only a second yr bachelor’s scholar so it was fairly exhausting to select up all of the information. Nevertheless, if you’re persistent sufficient and you have an interest in, and obsessed with, robotics you’ll get the dangle of it and also you’ll be taught by trial and error.

Seven people standing and one kneelingEuroRoboCup 2022 in Portugal. Roberto (kneeling in photograph) was a part of the organising committee.

When was your first competitors with the crew within the main league?

My first competitors was really final yr, in Thailand. We didn’t carry out as we want to, nevertheless, there’s way more to RoboCup than simply the competitors – it’s now extra of a scientific and knowledge-sharing occasion, it’s distinctive. Simply this yr, in Bordeaux, we had an issue with our robots. Each time we disconnected the ethernet cable, the robotic simply stopped taking part in, and we couldn’t work out what was occurring. I requested one other crew that was utilizing the identical software program – that they had found out the issue earlier than and so they instructed us how one can clear up it. I don’t suppose you’ll see that in different competitions. Each crew has a joint goal which is making science progress, making friendships, and making different groups higher by sharing their information. That’s actually distinctive.

How did you be a part of the Daring Hearts crew?

I made a decision to do my grasp’s within the UK (on the College of Hertfordshire), to expertise a distinct nation and a distinct model of schooling. After I joined, I knew there was a crew so I used to be already trying ahead to becoming a member of. After a few years of labor, we lastly acquired to go to a contest as a crew. It’s been a tremendous time and an enormous studying expertise.

What’s your function on the crew?

In our crew, everybody does a little bit of every little thing. We nonetheless have lots of issues to unravel – on each the {hardware} and software program facet. All of us at present are laptop scientists so it’s a bit extra of a wrestle to work on the {hardware} facet. So, I do a little bit of every little thing, each AI and non-AI associated issues. For instance, I’ve finished some 3d modelling for the robots, and I’m at present engaged on the balancing drawback. All of us work collectively on the issues which is wonderful since you get to see a little bit of every little thing and be taught from everybody. Robotics is a really multidisciplinary subject. You get to find out about every kind of matters: mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, machine studying, coding usually.

The Daring Hearts’ qualification video for this yr’s RoboCup competitors

May you inform us about this yr’s competitors (which passed off in Bordeaux)?

This yr we have been much more ready than final yr, after we’d simply come again from COVID, and all of our skilled members had lately left the crew, resulting from ending their PhDs and beginning work. Making a profitable robotic crew is a large integration drawback. There are such a lot of items that must go collectively and work completely for the robots to operate, and if one fails it seems like your system isn’t doing something. We acquired strolling working completely this yr, we had imaginative and prescient working properly too, and we had a secure determination tree, and we have been capable of hearken to the controller (which is sort of a referee and passes on details about fouls, recreation begin and stops and many others.). Nevertheless, we had some bugs within the determination tree that made every little thing disintegrate and we spent lots of time attempting to debug it. This occurs to lots of groups. Nevertheless, you possibly can nonetheless respect the work and progress of what they’ve finished.

Five people holding kid-sized robotsRoboCup 2023 in Bordeaux. Roberto (left) with Daring Hearts teammates.

What are the speedy plans for the crew?

We at the moment are eager about becoming a member of the simulation competitors, which is a part of our league. It takes place within the winter season and we’re planning on becoming a member of to work on our software program. The transition between simulation and {hardware} is kind of exhausting. You want an excellent simulation base to have the ability to switch instantly the information to the robotic. We’re engaged on having an excellent simulation so we will switch, a minimum of extra simply, the information learnt in simulation to the robots.

RoboCup is transferring extra in the direction of AI and studying, which we will see within the 3d simulation. The robots be taught lots of the movement via reinforcement studying, for instance. Within the bodily leagues it’s not as straightforward as we now have to switch that to the true world, the place there’s play within the joints, there’s backlash, there’s play within the 3d elements – there are lots of variables that aren’t taken into consideration in simulations.

How has being a part of RoboCup impressed your research and analysis?

Each time I’m going to RoboCup I come out eager about what I’m going to do subsequent. I couldn’t be extra impressed. It’s a extremely intense subject however I adore it. It makes you wish to work actually exhausting and it makes you obsessed with science. I did my bachelor’s challenge associated to RoboCup, I joined a grasp’s course on robotics, I hold asking my Professors in the event that they wish to begin a crew again in Portugal. I’m going to do my grasp’s thesis on robotics, on humanoids. I feel humanoids are a really advanced and attention-grabbing problem. There isn’t a one single answer.

About Roberto

Roberto Figueiredo

Roberto Figueiredo is a Portuguese, AI-focused laptop scientist with a bachelor’s diploma from the College of Hertfordshire. He at present pursuing a grasp’s in Robotics and Clever Methods from the College of Aveiro, and is obsessed with advancing his experience in robotics. He has lengthy been very smitten by robots and AI, being a participant in RoboCup since 2016 within the Rescue Simulation league. He has since turn out to be native consultant for the Rescue League in Portugal and joined a Main crew, Daring Hearts, within the Child Dimension league, one of the vital difficult in RoboCup Humanoid Soccer.

Lucy Smith
is Managing Editor for AIhub.

is a non-profit devoted to connecting the AI group to the general public by offering free, high-quality info in AI.

is a non-profit devoted to connecting the AI group to the general public by offering free, high-quality info in AI.

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