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It’s robot season!

This was a tropical robotics summer for me. In the past 2 months I’ve attended ICRA and ROS Kong in Hong Kong and RoboCup in João Pessoa, Brazil 😀

ICRA 2014

The International Conference in Robotics and Automation (ICRA), is one of the biggest robotics conferences in the world. I was there to present a paper I wrote during my master’s: Support Changes during Online Human Motion Imitation by a Humanoid Robot using Task Specification.

2014-05-31 23.22.41It’s a long title but what was done was pretty simple: someone moves in front of a Kinect sensor and the robot imitates the movement in real time. Very slow movements, but the robot is able to take feet off the floor, stand on one leg and so on. The paper is summarized on this video:

To my surprise, the paper was a finalist for the Best Cognitive Robotics Paper Awards, and consequently for the Best Paper Awards! Didn’t win, but it for sure was great to be a finalist!

2014-06-04 01.16.30It was great being at ICRA, I had never attended such a big robotics event before. It felt strange to be among so many awesome people, like Oussama Khatib – when I watched his online lectures 2 years ago, I had no idea I’d ever hear him speak live 🙂

ROS Kong 2014

Some months ago I did an internship with the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) through the Outreach Program for Women. The program offers a travel allowance to an event related to the internship, so I used it to attend ROS Kong, the first official ROS (Robot Operating System) meeting in Asia, which happened right after ICRA. Got some great goodies there, including a rosbag ehehe

2014-06-05 22.07.32I presented the work I did with Gzweb for the internship as a 3 min lightning talk (I’m the second to come up, from 3 mins):

I had actually made an earlier 1 min video summarizing my work with Gzweb too. This video is cooler because it shows the interface working and I don’t stutter as much 😀

At ROS Kong it was cool to see Atlas live (pretty scary though). Here he is manipulating a cordless drill, the very same cordless drill I play with so much on Gzweb ahaha

drill

It was also great to meet Ana, another OPW intern at OSRF, and Tully from OSRF in person 🙂

RoboCup 2014

RoboCup, the robots football world cup was hosted in Brazil this year, right after the human football world cup 🙂 I wasn’t participating or anything, but I couldn’t miss this event happening in my birth country while I’m actually here.

robocup2014I was surprised to see how many different leagues there are!  Humanoids, little cylindrical robots, simulated robots… And so many teams from so many countries! Not only playing football but also competing to perform rescues and household chores. Check out this group shot (from my horrible phone camera):

2014-07-20 17.08.10I must say I went with zero expectations. I thought there would be a few robots walking slowly towards the ball and when one of them would fall, all other players would fall like dominoes. And well, that did happen a lot hehe… There were also players falling alone for no reason or just walking outside the field… I loved this goalkeeper who refused to look at the game 😀

2014-07-21 11.20.48But there were surprising moments as well. Players suddenly kicking the ball in a direction you wouldn’t think was possible, goalkeepers stopping the ball by falling on the floor or sitting on the ball, things like that 😀

But for me, the very best of RoboCup was the Middle Size League, where the robots could actually move around quickly, perform precise passes and high kicks, steal the ball and make amazing goals. Check out this goal I was able to catch during the final, Netherlands (Tech United) vs China (Water):

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