HomeRoboticsInterview with Roberto Figueiredo: the RoboCup expertise

Interview with Roberto Figueiredo: the RoboCup expertise

Roberto Figueiredo is a grasp’s pupil on the College of Aveiro. He’s a member of the Daring Hearts RoboCup group which competes within the Humanoid KidSize soccer league. He’s at the moment 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.

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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 much 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 prior to now, however simulation gave me a little bit of an introduction to the extra theoretical elements of robotics, and to AI normally. 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 group celebrating after the finals.

May you inform us concerning 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 advantage of robotics, you get to satisfy lots of new folks in new international locations. We did fairly properly on this competitors as properly, I believe 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 received 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 serious league RoboCup group.

There’s a large hole between the junior and main leagues. After I joined my group (the Daring Hearts), many of the group had been PhDs and I used to be only a second yr bachelor’s pupil so it was fairly onerous to select up all of the information. Nevertheless, if you’re persistent sufficient and you have an interest in, and keen about, robotics you’ll get the cling of it and also you’ll study by trial and error.

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

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

My first competitors was really final yr, in Thailand. We didn’t carry out as we wish to, nevertheless, there may be rather 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 enjoying, and we couldn’t determine what was occurring. I requested one other group that was utilizing the identical software program – that they had discovered the issue earlier than and so they instructed us how one can clear up it. I don’t assume you’ll see that in different competitions. Each group 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 part of the Daring Hearts group?

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 type of schooling. After I joined, I knew there was a group so I used to be already trying ahead to becoming a member of. After a few years of labor, we lastly received to go to a contest as a group. It’s been a tremendous time and an enormous studying expertise.

What’s your function on the group?

In our group, everybody does a little bit of all the pieces. We nonetheless have lots of issues to unravel – on each the {hardware} and software program aspect. All of us at the moment are laptop scientists so it’s a bit extra of a battle to work on the {hardware} aspect. So, I do a little bit of all the pieces, each AI and non-AI associated issues. For instance, I’ve completed some 3d modelling for the robots, and I’m at the moment engaged on the balancing downside. All of us work collectively on the issues which is wonderful since you get to see a little bit of all the pieces and study from everybody. Robotics is a really multidisciplinary discipline. You get to study every kind of subjects: mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, machine studying, coding normally.

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

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

This yr we had been much more ready than final yr, once we’d simply come again from COVID, and all of our skilled members had just lately left the group, attributable to ending their PhDs and beginning work. Making a profitable robotic group is a large integration downside. There are such a lot of items that must go collectively and work completely for the robots to perform, and if one fails it appears like your system isn’t doing something. We received strolling working completely this yr, we had imaginative and prescient working properly too, and we had a secure choice tree, and we had been in a position to hearken to the controller (which is sort of a referee and passes on details about fouls, recreation begin and stops and so on.). Nevertheless, we had some bugs within the choice tree that made all the pieces disintegrate and we spent lots of time attempting to debug it. This occurs to lots of groups. Nevertheless, you possibly can nonetheless recognize the work and progress of what they’ve completed.

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

What are the instant plans for the group?

We are actually enthusiastic 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 sort of onerous. You want a great simulation base to have the ability to switch immediately the information to the robotic. We’re engaged on having an excellent simulation so we are able to switch, not less than extra simply, the information learnt in simulation to the robots.

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

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

Each time I am going to RoboCup I come out enthusiastic about what I’m going to do subsequent. I couldn’t be extra impressed. It’s a extremely intense discipline however I like it. It makes you wish to work actually onerous and it makes you keen about science. I did my bachelor’s mission associated to RoboCup, I joined a grasp’s course on robotics, I preserve asking my Professors in the event that they wish to begin a group again in Portugal. I’m going to do my grasp’s thesis on robotics, on humanoids. I believe humanoids are a really advanced and attention-grabbing problem. There is no such thing as 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 the moment pursuing a grasp’s in Robotics and Clever Techniques from the College of Aveiro, and is keen about advancing his experience in robotics. He has lengthy been very obsessed with robots and AI, being a participant in RoboCup since 2016 within the Rescue Simulation league. He has since change into native consultant for the Rescue League in Portugal and joined a Main group, Daring Hearts, within the Child Dimension league, one of the difficult in RoboCup Humanoid Soccer.

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