29 July - 5 July 2009

The children take control

The RoboCup 2009 as a “playground” for children with a keen interest in robotics

Experiencing knowledge at work and having lots of fun – this is what the RoboCup is all about. As an ideal combination of game with sports and fun with knowledge, it is the perfect “playground” for tomorrow’s roboticists. In the RoboCupJunior challenge, children and youngsters up to the age of 19 compete against each other – their robots play football, save “lives” and shake a leg.

In the RoboCupJunior competitions, children are not left sitting in front of their computer all by themselves – teamwork is what counts. Although there are “Lego”-type kits for the children to build the robots, many participants have higher ambitions and invest months to build their own “players” with expert support. But whether they opt for a standard robot or their own tailor-made creations, one thing is for certain: all participating children playfully gain first-hand knowledge of the exciting world of robotics and personally experience technology, both on the hardware and the software side. They compete against each other in three different leagues:

Soccer League

Our young roboticists play football as well! In the RoboCupJunior Soccer League, the children play each other with self-made autonomous mobile robots in teams of two. The tennis-ball sized ball sends out infrared rays. Recognizing the rays, the robots know exactly where the ball is and thus increase their chances of scoring a goal. Again, the “football players” have to play all by themselves, the coaches are only allowed to watch from outside the playing area. Matches are played with and without pitch-surrounding boards.

Dance League

The robot dance competition is the ultimate challenge for creative children. They dress up their robots and develop their own dance choreography. In addition to the artistic achievement, the children also showcase a lot of technical understanding. Together with their coaches, they programme their “Dancing Stars” themselves and even build their own stage sets during many weeks of preparation. First and foremost, the presentations should be creative. Whether singing, dancing or improvisation is the chosen mode of expression, the participants are asked to tell a story in which there is at least one robot. Although the children enjoy a lot of artistic license, the duration of the performance must be at least one and no more than two minutes. All performances are assessed by a panel of judges. While the overall impression of the performance is certainly important, the acquisition of technical knowledge – established by the judges in interviews – is also a factor.

Rescue League

In the Rescue category, the task is – like in the “adult” league – to build a rescue robot. The autonomous devices must be able to follow a black line that marks out the course and takes them across ramps on two different levels. Coloured paper figures lying on the course represent the victims, which the robots must be able to recognize and highlight.
Other challenges include obstacles, sharp turnings and interruptions of the black lines. This competition is about three things: getting as many points as possible, mastering the course and speed.

Mag. Alice Senarclens de Grancy
Press Officer
Email alice.grancy@tugraz.at
Tel 0316 873 6006
Mobil 0664 60 873 6006

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