Today was the last day we could contribute to the competition, and also the day of the award ceremony. For us, today was the most surprising and rewarding day since the beginning of the whole competition.
Since today only technical challenges were left to participate in, we decided to get more rest than usual and come to the venue around 10 AM. With a well rested team, we were ready for the challenges that were waiting for us. For the technical challenges, we had a choice of 5 different challenges, each of them very different from the other. For the competition, you were supposed to choose 1 challenge and try to succeed in it, but because it was our last day, we decided to participate in 2 different challenges because they both seemed interesting to us.
Our first challenge was to make our robot functional by data from a camera that was placed above the field. We had to localize the robot on the field via the camera. We made a separate code in Python using the OpenCV library which is frequently used for Machine Vision projects. Our code detected the spots on the field with a certain marker. A library was provided by the competition to locate these specific markers. There was also an extra assignment where you had to ride towards those markers, but we only succeeded in localizing and tracking the spots due to a time limit.
The second challenge we did was a kicking competition. The challenge was to kick the ball as far away as possible, the attempt was then noted and compared to other teams. We were allowed to upscale our kicker, so it had more power. We kicked the ball quite far, but because teams without kickers were allowed to ride forward for a certain distance instead of actually kicking the ball, it ended up in them pushing the ball a lot further.
After the challenges were done, there was only the scavenger hunt left. We did a lot of the assignments they gave and there was only one left, the picture with a Robocup junior trustee. We walked all around the venue but couldn’t find one. So, we asked one of the organizers and were sent to our own soccer robot organization table. Turns out, they were closer to us than we expected. We took a picture with the trustee which meant we were done with the scavenger hunt. We had to come back 3 hours later to turn in our pictures for the award.
Robocup also organized tours through the venue to showcase the major leagues and their robots performed by universities and corporations. Since we had some spare time left, we joined the tour and listened to their stories. It was very interesting to see what the other leagues do, especially the humanoid robots from Boston Dynamics, since it’s a brand new design in the history of humanoid robots.
After the tour we headed back to our league to turn in our pictures for the scavenger hunt. We arrived an hour early so we were sure to be first. This turned out to be a good decision because 10 minutes later another team arrived. When it was finally time, we showed our pictures that eventually won us the scavenger hunt award. The award was very small but this made it funnier to us to win it, it was definitely worth it since we had a lot of fun doing the scavenger hunt.
The day was beginning to end, the only thing that was left was the award ceremony. Because our matches didn’t go as well as we hoped, we weren’t expecting to win a prize. It was quite crowded at the award ceremony. One part of our team was able to sit at the front while the rest sat all the way at the back. The award ceremony did not only announce our league, junior soccer, but also the other junior leagues like: Onstage, Rescue and Simulation. When our league was next up, we were very interested to see which team had won. But when our team’s name got called out for the individual third place throphy, we were so surprised that we just kept sitting and looking at each other in shock… One of the organizers looked at us and signaled us to come up on the stage. Since we were split up, we weren’t able to all go at the same time, so we went in 2 groups. Besides the third place trophy we had also received the Outstanding Achievement Award for the growth we had made during one season. After receiving the award and grouping up, we were jumping from happiness and couldn’t stop smiling. Nobody expected this. We made a group picture with our team and our mentors together with the awards and decided to return and listen to the rest of the award ceremony. After it ended, we went to our hotel all laughing and reflecting on the day.
The rest of the day we played soccer and games and enjoyed our time. The next day we didn’t have anything major to do, so we filled in the night as we liked. After a long lasting 5-day competition with some ups and a lot of downs, this day proved to us that hard work always pays off even though it might not always look like it. The mood of the team was very good, this was a day that we will never forget about.