b-it-bots and Johnny Ranked Third in Home League

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Team b-it-bots has secured itself a podium position again: Johnny the Robot came third in the 2010 RoboCup World Championships in Singapore.

Despite its poor start in the preliminary round with 24 teams from four continents, the b-it-bots team of the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences continued to be successful with Johnny the Robot and was ranked third in the Home League of the RoboCup World Championships in Singapore last week. Thus, after the German Championships in April, the b-it-bots impressively underlined their strength at the international level, too.

Coming fifth in the preliminary round, our University's Business-IT experts later caught up, putting long-term experience and great team spirit in the balance: in this way, two of their fiercest rivals could be out-competed at last. In a perfect finale, Johnny's abilities as a robot waiter were demonstrated: Johnny received the guests at the entrance to an imitation restaurant, showed them to the tables, served the guests kitchen items selected from a menu, accompanied the restaurant visit with music that matched the guests' emotional states and helped evacuate the restaurant after a simulated fire in the kitchen, safely guiding the guests out of the restaurant. A high-quality expert jury ranked the demonstration show second in this round.

One of Johnny's special characteristics is recognition - albeit simple - of people's emotional states. The inhabitants interact with the robot through spoken language, even if the environment is loud and noisy. The background noise in the RoboCup Championships is a special challenge every time because it cannot be realistically simulated in the laboratory, so it is hardly possible to carry out tests in the run-up to the championships. To enforce scientific progress, the tasks and rules of the competition are adapted to new developments in research every year.

The RoboCup@HomeLeague is a contest for service robotics and takes place in an environment made up of several furnished residential rooms. In this flat, which is rearranged several times during the competition, the robots navigate and orientate themselves autonomously. They recognise objects, learn their names and memorise the places where the objects are located. The robots in the advanced teams can also reach out to grasp and transport the objects, and they can memorise the inhabitants' and their guests' faces and recognise them without difficulty. The RoboCup@HomeLeague is developing into the standard benchmark for service robotics and is arousing the interest of an increasing number of research groups.

In March, i.e. in the run-up to the World Championships, the b-it-bots organised a RoboCupCamp at the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, in which the teams of the universities of Bonn, Koblenz and Lyon participated, too. The careful preparation led to the successful registration of the robots, which achieved record scores.

Alongside Thomas Breuer, Geovanny Giorgana, Zha Jin, Christian Müller, Frederik Hegger, Shashank Sharma, Shahmi Junok and Jose Ruiz, nine students of the international Master's degree course in Autonomous Systems as well as the six research associates Dr Ronny Hartanto, Jan Paulus, Michael Reckhaus, Nico Hochgeschwender, Azamat Shakhirmadanov and Iman Awaad are members of the team. They are supervised by Prof. Paul G. Plöger and Prof. Gerhard K. Kraetzschmar and supported by the Bonn-Aachen International Center for Information Technology (b-it). Ten of the 17 team members represented the b-it-bots team in Singapore.

Contact

Prof. Dr. Gerhard K. Kraetzschmar
Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Fachbereich Informatik
Tel. +49 2241 865 293
Email: gerhard.kraetzschmar@h-brs.de

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