Friday, October 3, 2008

Multi-Robot Intelligence

This talk was given by Manuela M. Veloso from the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. Since I've always wanted an Aibo and even worked on a robotics competition last year, there was no dilemma for me about which talk I would attend!

The talk started with some examples of robots at work in CMU: the Roboceptionist, robots helping the elderly, and even dog and humanoid robots playing soccer! Dr. Veloso then discussed what makes a robot: integrated intelligence. Basically, there are three components:
  • perception: the processing of sensory data
  • cognition: learning and action selection
  • action: the motion and manipulation of the robot.
Multi-robot soccer was invented to help scientists work on the multi-robot problem, in which robots perform a task by working together. We saw an example of "Small-Size" Robot Soccer, which has 10 robots and a golf ball, with five robots per team. It was neat to watch the video of the robots, called the CMDragons, actually playing soccer! Dr. Veloso's major breakthrough was to include teamwork in the game-play, in the form of passing. She then explained some of the details behind the robots' visual signal interpretation.

Dr. Veloso also gave some examples of soccer strategy for robots. She showed a video where the robots completed four passes and a chip-kick before scoring. The funny thing is, this had never been observed in the lab prior to the competition! Dr. Veloso also showed videos of Aibos playing soccer and explained the difference between the teamwork problem when the robots can and can't communicate with each other.

Did you attend Dr. Veloso's talk? Are you interested in robotics or working on these problems in robotics? Let us know!


ELWIII said...

Thanks so much for writing about the connections with soccer and robotics.

As an avid soccer fan, former player, coach and soccer parent, I am constantly interested in the advances of the sport. The intersection of robotics and sport sounds very "cool" (as my daughter would say).

Please write more as updates warrant.


Kate said...

Glad you enjoyed it! You can find out more about Dr. Veloso's work here: :)

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