Third Place in Handling, Fifth Place Overall for UP Robot Design Team at ROBOCUP 2014 in Iran

Third Place in Handling, Fifth Place Overall for UP Robot Design Team at ROBOCUP 2014 in Iran

Maximiliano Ruiz, Santiago González, Fernando Ochoa, Daniel Duran, Daniel Arriaga, Irving Avila, Juan Echavarria and Barbara Muñoz, guided by Professor Juan Guillermo Medina Medina, are students of different majors that study at the School of Engineering at the UP, Campus Bonaterra, where Dr. Ramiro Velazquez is director. These students earned THIRD PLACE in the category of Handling, and FIFTH PLACE OVERALL in the RoboCup 2014, which is the most important robotics competition worldwide. The event, held city of Tehran in Iran, included an international conference, and an exposition in addition to the competition. 


The UP robot this year is called OME, which in Nahuatl means “Second”.  OME is the second prototype of rescue robots that has been developed by UP students. 


The host site of this year’s Robocup was Qazvin Islamic Azad University, one of the universities with the highest enrollment in the world 


The Robotics team from the UP Engineering School was the defending champion in the category of handling at the  Robocup 2013, held in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Unfortunately, this year the UP team could not repeat that result. 

The first place overall went to the MRL team Qazvin Islamic University; the second place for YRA of University Yazd Branch; the third for ARIANA Peykri Behzad; the fourth site for DML Babak Allaskari University; and the fifth for the UP Campus Bonaterra. 


In the category of handling, DML Babak Allaskari University won first place; second place went to ASEMA-MASHIN of Iran RED Crescent Youth Organization; and the third to the UP Bonaterra. 


The RoboCup is the most important international competition of robots in the world. Its main objective is to encourage research into new technologies to increase innovation of technological products that could help society. The competition is divided into several leagues, such as Soccer (perhaps the most popular), Home, Rescue, Junior, Deminer, Open Demonstration, Open UAV, and ROV Open. 


The UP team is competing in the "Robot Rescue League" League. As the name suggests, this league is focused on creating rescue robots for disaster scenarios. Such robots might be required when it is not desirable to put a person at risk, or when it is simply impossible for rescue personnel to access a particular area.


The robot is tele-operated, that means it is controlled by a team from a computer. It is composed of an arm which allows the manipulation of objects, temperature and CO2 sensor, cameras, antennas that allow communication, and a laser that maps the area of concern.


In the last three years, this prototype platform has participated in four competitive events:  Robocup2010 Singapore, RoboCup2011 Istanbul, Robocup2013 in Mexico, and Robocup2012 in Eindhoven. The UP team has earned the first place as the top Mexican team, and first place in Manipulation. The 2014 event will allow the team to finalize its preparation for the second RoboCup--Brazil 2014--which will coincide with the World Cup in July.


More than 100 teams from around the world gathered in Tehran, including one from the United States—which surprised the local attendees.  The usual strong competitors participated in the event which was attended by the important Iranian political authorities.  The venue was the Islamic Azad University of Qazvin which has more than 30,000 students. While seventy percent of participants in the RoboCup were graduate students, the UP Bonaterra was represented by graduate students only. 


Despite its country’s edge in technology, Iran still has a huge restriction on communication. As a practical example, participants could not access online the databases of their their home universities. Nor could they update the computer software. Furthermore, there was no access to social networks such as youtube, gmail and yahoo.  This communication limitation was paradoxical considering the high tech involved in developing robots and made for an additional challenge for participants.