Robot Soccer From The Robot's Point Of View
Written by Lucy Black   
Saturday, 31 August 2013

Robot soccer has reached the level where it is occasionally exciting as a spectator sport, but this video takes you into the head of a player - and it is even more interesting than the game.

If you have been following the robot soccer competition you will probably have seen videos of hesitant robots occasionally making a kick that looks as if it was in roughly the right direction. How much of the play is simply random robots moving around and kicking the ball when they get the chance?

 

naofootball

 

Now you can see what Nao sees as it takes part in a game in the standard platform class of the recent world cup. This particular Nao belongs to team B-Human, which is playing in the red shirts. 

As you watch the video, you see two views of the game, complete with object recognition bounding boxes. It is interesting to follow what the robot has accurately detected and what it does as a result. The top window shows the distant view and the lower window shows the view at Nao's feet. 

There is much falling down - but being  Nao robots the players have no problem in getting back up. It does make you question of how far away the day is when robot soccer players will be as stable as their human counterparts and only fall to the ground when it is strategically advantageous. On the positive side, there are some very impressive passes early in the video:

 

 

I hope you watched to the end where our hero actually scores.

Robot soccer still has a long way to go, but it seems to be a really good testbed for robotics.

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