Wednesday, July 1, 2009

At the Stadthalle

We spent 10 hours at the Stadthalle today, at RoboCup 2009. There are 995 students registered, on 187 teams, from 25 countries. The students range from 10 years old to graduate students. The RoboDragons registered today, and then were interviewed by judges to make sure that they had done the work for their robot themselves. The judge told them that they had a high score for the interview.

Rachel and teammate Uday conferring with Elizabeth, the team coach and mentor. Mentors were not allowed on the floor with the teams, hence the rope at the top of the photo, keeping Elizabeth outside.

The competition will be done in superteams, with each individual team paired with two others. The teams will compete together, and can gain points from each other's successes, but each team is scored alone. The RoboDragons will be working with an Italian and a Slovakian team tomorrow. The kids are learning a great deal about international cooperation, because the Italian kids don't speak any English, and only one member of the Slovakian team speaks a bit of English.

The sights from around the hall are amazing. From where I sat I could see the RoboDragons working on programming their robot, all of them in tee-shirts, while another rescue team walked by wearing three piece dark suits. I watched a dance team from Finland, all with umbrellas, dancing to "Singing in the Rain", in rhythm with an umbrella-toting robot. One dance team made a robot that looked like a life-size swan, complete with feathers and wings that flapped in time to music.

I watched high school and college teams playing soccer. These robots can even kick the ball, which makes it difficult for the goalie robot to make a save.

Back to the hotel for dinner and more work on the robot. We are all quite jet-lagged, so it's early to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night last night for several hours, when it was about 6:30 p.m. New Jersey time, I think because my body thought that it was time for dinner! Here's how we all feel about jet lag: (Team member Michael's little brother has become the team mascot.)

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