Competition tips & tricks
RoboCup@Home is a complex competition. There's a rule book and there is practice on a competition. The TC and OC do what they can to align the two.
Here, you'll find tips and tricks to take into account with this competition outside of your lab.
- The RoboCup venue is always noisy (with some 2000 people and eg soccer leagues where people cheer when they score). This means you can't hear a robot very well unless that's being considered. Text-to-speech working perfect in a quiet lab will not work that well in such a noisy environment. Proper (directional) microphones help and of course test outside the lab, eg. in the canteen or something.
- The referees's may have an accent when speaking English. RoboCup is an world wide competition after all.
- The organisation works hard to have a proper network, but with 2000 people on the same connection, it may crap out occasionally. If you rely on an internet connection, reconsider that. E.g. have your git server mirrored locally etc.
- A wireless E-stop is very very handy to have. But make sure it can deal with WiFi as background noise AND other wireless E-stops being on potentially the same frequencies.
- When your robot is E-stopped, you want to have it back to go ASAP. Don't just kill your software. Ideally, it becomes a pause-button.
- When you cut power to the wheel motors for example, keep the encoders going so your robot can still use odometry to know where you are pushing it to.
- Don't just cut power to your arm motors: your arm going limp is actually unsafe, you might drop something. How to do this safely depends very much on the hardware of course.
- If your robot runs on batteries, it may be very handy to be able to hot-swap them. The AMIGO robot uses 4 batteries from a cordless drill that can be hot-swapped individualy, giving it all-day run time without being plugged in as long as people change the batteries when the robots asks to.
- Let your robot tell out loud when the batteries are going low.
- You know your robot well and know how to speak to it. It may seem obvious, but it isn't always to a referee who has already judged 20 other robots. Test your robot with other people, maybe even people who are not as much into technology as you are.
- Make sure you robot can get over some bumps. Especially the team area is typically riddled with cables; your robot will need to drive around there to get to the arena. Doesn't need to be autonomous there per se, but not go on E-stop because of a small bump. And not fall over too...
- Each RoboCup environment is different. Make sure you can adapt to them quickly.
- You do not have to re-invent the wheel. See what other teams have in hard/software. You, RoboCup and robotics in general can progress faster by collaborating on software instead of each team developing their own software for the same purpose.