Campus News

Bowdoin to Host RoboCup U.S. Open

Story posted March 04, 2009

Bowdoin is set to host the 2009 RoboCup U.S. Open for the Standard Platform League May 2-3.

Events will be held in the new Sidney J. Watson Arena.

"We are excited to be the first non-hockey or athletics-related event hosted in this venue," says Joho Strom '09, captain of Bowdoin's Northern Bites RoboCup team.

"It has great lighting, a superb sound system, and also the built-in capability to do webcasting."

Strom says the competition would be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Finals are to be held Sunday afternoon.

All of the U.S. teams, comprising Bowdoin, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas at Austin, are expected to participate.

The Northern Bites four-legged team won 2008 U.S. Open held in Pittsburgh, Pa. In 2007, the Northern Bites were the RoboCup world champions in the four-legged league.

Nao humanoid robots in action in Suzhou, China, during the 2008 RoboCup World Championships.

This year the International RoboCup Committee has switched from the Sony Aibo robot dog to the Nao, a humanoid model made by Aldebaran.

In this year's competition, there will be four robots per team, competing on a 4.4 by 6.8 meter field.

This evolution, which continually brings the rules more in line with "real" soccer, reflects RoboCup's goal as it strives to fulfill its mission statement: "By the year 2050, develop a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots that can win against the human world soccer champion team."

The robots operate with no external control by humans or computers, and are executing programs written entirely by Bowdoin students, who must also calibrate the robots to each new environment — particularly with regard to color vision.

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