ERL in Barcelona is over and we’re very happy how it turned out! This blog post is coming a bit late, we know, but, the last day of competition was a rollercoaster of emotions(everything was decided in the free trials, but we will get there) and then we had some free time.
In the third and last day of competition was mainly the day of TBM3(Catering for Granny Annie) and we were ready, everything was tested the day before. The only thing we couldn’t do was the grasp of an object. Everything else we were very positive about. And that’s how it went, the robot perform well all the commands (3 commands to deal with home automation devices and 1 to get an object). In the middle of this task there were also trials for TBM5(where only our friends Homer participated) and FBM3.
After all the official trials that’s when thing got interesting, it was time for free trials. Free trials are trial slots in which the team can perform any of the tests done before, if they feel like they improved. And we must say that teams improved a lot during this week. Our free trial was TBM2 and it was a big surprise when we got to detect Dr. Kimble, something that Tiago worked very hard for. Unfortunately, the unknown person was misdetected which didn’t gave us enough points to win this task!
Usually in ERL tournaments there are no winner, but this time PAL Robotics wanted to give a prize to the winner. And the winner would be the team that won more tasks. The awesome part is that 4 of the teams win 2 tasks, which means that there were 4 winners: SocRob, Homer, Hearts and IRI! 🙂 In our case we won TBM1(along side with Homer and Hearts) and TBM4. In the end, we all got a REEM shaped statue and a winner certificate.
This was an awesome experience, and we really felt a good vibe in PAL Robotics. Everyone was super helpful and nice to us. This ERL is over but there will be more and we will just grow from here. Thanks to everyone who made this possible, specially to the team members that stayed home but kept on working hard, Professors and PAL Robotics! 🙂
Ok, the second day finished and we are happy with the results! The team is starting to get a bit tired, but the spirit is always very positive 🙂 we were elected as the happiest team on the competition, Referee Meysam said. TBM4 (again) and TBM2 were the task under test.
We performed TBM4 on the first day and went really well, this time was not different! MBot was able to navigate correctly and recognise the object that was on the way. Following a person is still a weakness, even after some tweaks here and there. Back home we have to heavily focus on this functionality to be able to perform TBM4 perfectly!
TBM2 was probably the task we were not so sure how it would go. Training a machine to recognise a specific face is a big challenge and the first run was not our best, but we ended up having good results. Even though we never detected Dr. Kimble correctly we did it for the other possible visitors, and performed accordingly which gave us the full scoring, for 3 out of 4. And it gave us the opportunity to show off our arm, picking up the mail form the post man.
See some photos below.
Finally, the scores came out and we were in first place for TBM4 and TBM2! Perfecto 🙂
After all the runs we still had work to do, since there is still one day of competition with two tasks for us. TBM3 (Catering for Granny Annie), in which the robot has to recognise commands from Granny, in a specific location. Then, perform those commands, that can be: interact with home devices or get an object. Next, FBM3, speech recognition and understanding. We tested it until 21.00h and it was ready to run next morning!!
Today was the first day of trials with 2 TBMs and 1 FBM! It was a good day 🙂 We were able to perform them all until the end and with good results! In fact in the end of the day we got first place both in TBM1, being able to give all the commands with some repetition, and TBM4, being able to navigate to all waypoints, replan and recognise the object! Was a great team effort and 100% worth it. FBM3 was also successfully done, by recognising commands from wav files provided by the referees.
See some photos from the trials bellow.
Tomorrow the competition continues! We are doing TBM4 again, two more trials, and TBM2 (Welcoming Visitors) in which the robot has to recognise who’s at the door of the house and act accordingly. It can be Dr. Kimble, that comes to see how Granny is doing, the postman, delivering a parcel, or the deliman, delivering the breakfast. Also tomorrow is TBM5 (General Propose Service Robots) in which we won’t be participating.
We are thrilled about tomorrow and hopefully the good results will continue!
See the live stream of the competition in PAL Robotics‘ facebook page.
Today was testing day! Yesterday we had a very productive day which allowed us to be able to start testing as soon as we could, during our time slot 🙂 . It was time to start testing the first tasks that will be performed tomorrow: TBM1 and TBM4.
Some things were still unstable in TBM4, like detecting an object in front of the robot while navigating. After some adjustments this was done successfully! The robot navigates through the three waypoints, replanning and detecting the object when needed. The biggest challenge is the following of the operator, which we are positive about.
TBM1 is a task that needs a lot of testing and training. This task consists in a person from the team to tell the robot what changed in the house (for example, to say that an object that was previously in the bedroom is now in the living room). It’s challenging since the team operator has to be very aware of all the possible locations and command that the robot should receive. We ended up having good results with our operator, Guilherme, which proved to be the most understandable by the robot.
After code freezing the two tasks for tomorrow, we still had some time left, which gave us the possibility of testing other tasks. We started with TBM3 (Catering for Granny Annie), in which Granny Annie has a fancy tablet where she can call the robot and give him a command. Commands include stuff like switching on/off lights in the house or get something that Granny needs. Communication with refbox done, we could send requests to the home automated devices. More difficult was to get the objects, but at least we are able to recognise some of them!
After another long day with some troubles in between, it ended up being very productive and we are ready for what is coming tomorrow!
So, today was the first of the two setup days. Setup means that we have to get used to the environment and the MBot will be introduced to his new house by mapping it and defining key points. But, before that, there is the need of setting up the network, which sometimes is a struggle, but this time was straight forward!
We could now talk to the bot and start working and testing if there were any hardware damages from the trip! We turned the head right and left, the camera up and down, the wheels rolling (teleop) and the arm moving. Everything is working fine!!
After it was time for the mapping of the environment. We had to try if several times to have the best map possible with the unknown environment, but in the end we are very proud it 🙂
Next, it was time to choose some key position so that the task would be performed well! We had previously done a list of all the ones we needed and it was fast! With the waypoints chosen we could send the robot to this predefined positions and see if all of them are reachable, which was not the case. But, no worries! With hard work everything is possible, and we are a hard working team that doesn’t quit. Move base can be hard to chew but we are now able to get to all the positions.
On Wednesday we start with TBM1 (Getting to Know my Home) and TBM4 (Visit my Home), so we decided to test TBM4, which includes go to several waypoints, replan, recognize a person and follow a person. We didn’t have time to test it all (venue closes at 21.30h), but we could navigate well, replan and follow a person out of the house.
Tomorrow it’s the last day of setup! We hope there are no problems and we can spend this day just testing the task that will be performed during the competitions! We are happy how it is going, keep posted!