Computing stuff tied to the physical world

FanBots at RoboCup 2013

In ARM, Hardware, Linux, Software on Jun 25, 2013 at 00:01

There’s an event coming up in a few days in Eindhoven, called the RoboCup 2013:

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This is the world championship of robotic football. For all ages, and with various levels of sophistication. Some robots are tiny cars, trying to work together to play a match, some robots are little human-like machines consisting of lots of servos to make them walk on two feet, and some robots are very sophisticated little “towers” on three wheels, zipping along at impressive speeds and able to catch, hold, and kick a standard-size football.

I’m not directly involved in this, but I saw some of the preparations and it really promises to be a fantastic event. Lots of geeks with laptops, soldering irons, and mechanical stuff. The kick-off is next Wednesday and the event lasts for five days, with the finals on Sunday.

On the side, there is a gorgeous (not-so) little project going on, whereby kids of ages 8 to 12 can visit a workshop to build their own FanBot (for free). The FanBot can blink its eyes and mouth, and wave its arms – part of the exercise is to create a little “program” of things it does at the press of a button, so this will also be a first encounter with programming!

There’s a Dutch page about the project and a general page in English mentioning FanBots.

But the really exciting goal will be to create a huge stand for all the FanBots and make them cheer the football-playing robots in the main event hall. The aim is to get up to 1000 of them, all blinking and waving – and all orchestrated and controlled from a central system. It’s all being designed and built by Peter Brier and by Marieke Peelen of KekkeTek.

One task in the project is to register all the FanBots and print out a little “passport” as last step – which the kids can then use to pick up their own FanBot once the RoboCup 2013 event is over. This is the part I volunteered to help with.

I’ll describe the setup in more detail soon, but that’s where the Raspberry Pi’s w/ LCD screen and webcams will be used. It’ll be fun to see whether we can get 1000 kids to build and sign up their little robots during three days – there’s quite a bit of logistics involved!

Admission is free, so if you’re in the neighbourhood: don’t miss it – it’s going to be fun!

  1. Nice idea with FanBot. Only issue with peoples from another countries – may be they can pay for their FanBot delivery to home after competition?

    When and where this workshop will take place? I plan to be there with 3 kids on Saturday.

    • Ah, forgot to mention this: you can buy an envelope for automatic delivery after the event.

      It’s in the “Tent Indoor Sports Center”, not far from the main event (RoboCup Major). As far as I know it runs for the entire event, starting Wednesday morning. Just look for “Robot Playground”.

  2. Should we take some of our tools with us? All my kids are using glue-gun for their stuff. Some feutre I think will be a plus.

  3. As in ‘crayon-feutre’? (Felt-tip pens)

  4. Oops, indeed in English it will be felt.

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