Robot Tobi travels to European championship

Team of Cluster of Excellence CITEC competes in RoboCup European Open

Waking someone up, cleaning a room or caring for a patient like a nurse: In the household league of the RoboCup competition robots must be able to master a wide variety of skills and be able to react spontaneously to people’s behaviour. With their robot, Tobi, a team of the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interation Technology (CITEC) is entering the European Open in Eindhoven in the Netherlands from Wednesday 30 March until Sunday 3 April. Last year the team came third in the RoboCup world championship in China.

For the competition, the robot Tobi must be able to follow a person independently. This includes – as shown here in the competition in Brazil –being able to recognise a person and to wait for their signal, before it can go on. Photo: CITEC /Bielefeld University The robot Tobi moves along on wheels, has a gripping arm and perceives its environment with depth sensors, colour imaging cameras and two laser scanners. The household robot is based on the prototype “Biron” which stands for “Bielefeld Robot Companion”. This year the team is made up of twelve students of the Faculty of Technology and the three CITEC scientists PD Dr. Sven Wachsmuth, Sebastian Meyer zu Borgsen and Timo Korthals. The students prepared the robot for the competition during a seminar: They wrote new programmes for its software and renewed its technology. 

In the Restaurant discipline, for example, the robot has to take an order then bring the beverage to the customer. To do so, it has to react to disturbances – like when someone suddenly walks across its path. For this task, the Bielefeld Team has also employed two mini robots called Amiro. As movable sensors, they assist Tobi and show it where it can find the ordered drink.  For the navigation task the robot has to go into an apartment, locate various stations there and then leave the flat. It also has to avoid obstacles while doing so.

The service robot Tobi assists in household tasks. It is capable of face recognition and can memorise its workplace as a virtual map. In 2015 Tobi came third in the RoboCup World Championship in China. Photo: CITEC/Bielefeld University The aim of the RoboCup competition is to speed up the development of affordable and reliable autonomous robots. Applications developed for the household league competition can be used to develop service robots for domestic use. A special feature of the competition is that the teams publish the information on how they programmed their robots once it is over, so that other scientists can profit from their knowledge. The competition is divided into five categories. Apart from the household league, teams compete in the categories of football robots, rescue robots, robots that solve logistic problems as well as robots designed for work-related environments for the title of European champion.

Through its Twitter feed, the Bielefeld team will be reporting on its progress.

Further information available on the Internet:

  • Team of the Cluster of Excellence CITEC
  • RoboCup European Open:
  • RoboCup World Championship in Leipzig
  • Third Place for Tobi at the RoboCup World Championship (Press release from 23.07.2015) https://www./news/third-place-tobi-robocup-world-championship

PD Dr. Sven Wachsmuth, Bielefeld University
Central Lab Facilities
Telephone: + 49 (0) 521 106 2937

Sebastian Meyer zu Borgsen
Central Lab Facilities
Telephone: + 49(0) 521 106 2950