New Soccer Robot Has Human-Like Agility -Latest Reaearch

Computer scientists from the University of Bonn have developed a new robot whose source code and design plan is publicly accessible. It is intended to facilitate the entry into research on humanoids, in particular, the TeenSize Class of the RoboCup. The scientists recently introduced the new robot at the IROS Conference (International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems) in Portugal.

With its white head and black body, “NimbRo-OP” looks almost human. After all, at a height of 95 centimeters, it is almost the size of a small child. Among soccer robots, it counts as a “grown-up.” Thanks to light-weight materials, its weight of 6.6 kilograms is, however, clearly less than that of a child. It has a total of 20 drive elements that convert computer commands into mechanical motions. This is also why “NimbRo-OP” is very agile — it has no problems kicking a soccer ball, and it can also get up from a prone position like a human, for soccer players also sometimes fall down.

The robot’s source code and design are open source

“We have made very effort to keep the design simple to allow other working groups to also use this robot as a basis for their work, modify and repair it,” says Prof. Dr. Sven Behnke, lead of the Autonomous Intelli¬gent Systems working group from the University of Bonn. Source code and design plan of “NimbRo-OP” are open source. This is intended to facilitate entry into research on humanoids, in particular, the TeenSize Class of the RoboCup.

This robot, which was recently presented at the IROS Conference (International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems) in Portugal, is a prototype. “NimbRo-OP is not suitable for consumers,” says Prof. Behnke. “Our target group consists of scientists who want to program robots based on this hard- and software.” The scientists from the Uni¬versity of Bonn also want to enter their robot in the RoboCup.

This is a first step in the development project. “With this platform, we would like to achieve compatibility with other robots,” says the computer scientist. Over the next three years, the development project will be continued together with igus GmbH Köln, an application partner, within a knowledge transfer project entitled “A humanoid TeenSize open-platform soccer robot.” Prof. Behnke explains, “The goal of the project is accelerating progress in the humanoid robot area by intensifying the sharing with other groups of researchers.”

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