One of the attractions of the “City of the Future” exposition, opened at Plaza de la Constitución from January 19th to 24th, as part of the 5th Congress of the Future, was our robotic soccer team UChile, formed by the six NAO robots that played at the 2014 and 1015 editions of the RoboCup.
In a field specially built by the event´s production crew, students José Miguel Yáñez (AMTC’s PhD student in Robotics and team leader), Constanza Villegas, Kenzo Lobos, Pablo Saavedra, Pablo Cano, Felipe Lizama, Rodrigo Pérez and Gabriel Azócar were in charge of the automaton players, while greeting the exposition’s visitors, who were avid to know what the six players could do. Of course, the children were the most interested audience.
But the NAOs were in the place to showcase their playing skills and that’s what they did. For two days, six exhibition matches were played in which the audience could see the robots’ complete autonomy. The machines p’layed and scores using only their programmed instructions, with no human intervention whatsoever during the game. The first demonstration was held presicely during the opening ceremony of the Congress of the Future, and President Michelle Bachelet herself giving the kickoff.
José Miguel Yáñez valued this experience of contact with the public: “It was pretty good; every time we have a chance of showing our work to the community, outside the university, we try to take advantage of those situation to highlight our accomplishments. We always like when people gets impressed when they see the robots playing in a totally autonomous fashion, when they score, when they fall and stand up. That makes us very proud”.
The kids who visited the UChile Team’s booth got paper model sheets to build their own NAOs and sent photos via Facebook in order to win a visit to the lab where the androids “train”. The winners will be this Friday at the lab to see the mechanical sportsmen.