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 truly 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 up to now, however simulation gave me a little bit of an introduction to the extra theoretical points of robotics, and to AI on the whole. 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.

Might you inform us in regards to the subsequent RoboCup occasions that you just 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 satisfy quite a lot 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 12 months was my final RoboCup as a junior, which was in Sydney. That was additionally an attention-grabbing occasion and I received to talk 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 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 12 months bachelor’s scholar so it was fairly onerous to select up all of the data. Nevertheless, in case you are persistent sufficient and you have an interest in, and obsessed with, robotics you’ll get the grasp of it and also you’ll study 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 truly final 12 months, in Thailand. We didn’t carry out as we wish 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 12 months, 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 crew that was utilizing the identical software program – that they had discovered the issue earlier than and so they informed us find out how to clear up it. I don’t assume 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 data. That’s actually distinctive.

How did you be 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 unique nation and a unique model of training. After I joined, I knew there was a crew so I used to be already wanting ahead to becoming a member of. After a few years of labor, we lastly received to go to a contest as a crew. It’s been a tremendous time and an enormous studying expertise.

What’s your position on the crew?

In our crew, everybody does a little bit of all the pieces. We nonetheless have quite a lot of issues to resolve – on each the {hardware} and software program facet. All of us at present are pc scientists so it’s a bit extra of a wrestle to work on the {hardware} facet. So, I do a little bit of all the pieces, each AI and non-AI associated issues. For instance, I’ve carried out 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 superb since you get to see a little bit of all the pieces and study from everybody. Robotics is a really multidisciplinary subject. You get to study every kind of subjects: mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, machine studying, coding on the whole.

The Daring Hearts’ qualification video for this 12 months’s RoboCup competitors

Might you inform us about this 12 months’s competitors (which came about in Bordeaux)?

This 12 months we have been much more ready than final 12 months, once we’d simply come again from COVID, and all of our skilled members had lately left the crew, as a result of ending their PhDs and beginning work. Making a profitable robotic crew is a big integration drawback. There are such a lot of items that have to go collectively and work completely for the robots to perform, and if one fails it appears to be like like your system isn’t doing something. We received strolling working completely this 12 months, we had imaginative and prescient working properly too, and we had a secure resolution tree, and we have 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 forth.). Nevertheless, we had some bugs within the resolution tree that made all the pieces crumble and we spent quite a lot of time making an attempt to debug it. This occurs to quite a lot of groups. Nevertheless, you’ll be able to nonetheless recognize the work and progress of what they’ve carried out.

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 fascinated 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 straight the data to the robotic. We’re engaged on having an excellent simulation so we are able to switch, not less than extra simply, the data learnt in simulation to the robots.

RoboCup is shifting extra in direction of AI and studying, which we are able to see within the 3d simulation. The robots study quite a lot of the movement by means of reinforcement studying, for instance. Within the bodily leagues it’s not as straightforward as we’ve got 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 quite a lot 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 fascinated about what I’m going to do subsequent. I couldn’t be extra impressed. It’s a very intense subject however I adore it. It makes you wish to work actually onerous and it makes you obsessed with science. I did my bachelor’s undertaking associated to RoboCup, I joined a grasp’s course on robotics, I maintain 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 complicated and attention-grabbing problem. There isn’t any one single resolution.

About Roberto

Roberto Figueiredo

Roberto Figueiredo is a Portuguese, AI-focused pc 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, some of the difficult in RoboCup Humanoid Soccer.

Lucy Smith
is Managing Editor for AIhub.

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

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


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