Last Saturday, an exciting event took place at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the Dutch National Championship RobocupJunior! The tournament showcased a variety of impressive robots competing in different competitions, including our soccer robot which was a particular highlight of the event. During the tournament, we were up against different teams. They all built their own soccer robots and all of them looked completely different. It was very interesting to see how everyone made their own designs for the same goal: Playing 1v1 soccer robot matches.
We arrived at the competition at 9 in the morning to get our robot inspected by the referees and to prepare our robot on the test fields. We were well prepared, so It passed the checks without any problems. On the test field however, we hit some obstacles. The field was very different from what we are used to. The difference between our own test field and the tournament field was that the green carpet used in the tournament had significantly less grip and more debris coming off it. This caused our robot to slip more often and some debris of the field got stuck inside our special omni-wheels. The robot also had some hardware malfunctions due to the transport of the robot. One of the most challenging moments during the testing phase was getting the ball to the right position. Nonetheless, we kept going and tweaked the robot so everything would work as well as possible.
After some time of testing on the field, we noticed that a journalist from the national youth news program arrived and made shots of everyone’s robots. After some time, they came to our field as well and captured a goal that our robot made as a test. The same night we were seen on national TV!
At last, the tournament started. We were nervous at first, but during the match our worries disappeared as our soccer robot performed remarkably well. In total, we played four games and won all four games with a huge difference. Our robot was a lot more advanced thanks to our team’s effort the past months. Our total of 4 matches ended in 21-0, 24-3, 17-1 and 14-4 victories!
A junior subteam of Team Roboticus also participated in the rescue competition, where robots needed to follow a predetermined path with various obstacles along the way. The junior team worked hard to build and program their robot to complete the specific tasks required, they finished in fourth place, just shy of the podium. Nevertheless, they remained determined to grow and improve and can be proud of themselves for what they achieved.
The award ceremony was the perfect end to an exciting day. As we waited eagerly for our name to be called, Peter van Lith (the founder of the Dutch RobocupJunior Tournament) shared an inspiring story about our team from 15 years ago when our team was originally founded which was an unexpected surprise! It was a touching moment that made us feel proud of how far we’ve come. Finally, our team’s name was announced, and we rushed to the front to receive our long-awaited trophy.
Receiving the recognition for our hard work was an incredible feeling, but the experience was also educational. We learned a lot from the other teams, their designs, and their strategies. Our robot encountered some unexpected challenges during the tournament, such as a dead corner on the field where it had difficulty leaving. These challenges provided us with valuable insights that will help us improve our robot in the future.
Overall, the tournament left us feeling inspired and motivated to continue pushing the boundaries of robotics and innovation. It was a great opportunity to showcase our skills and learn from other talented teams in the field.
We will soon post a recap video of the whole day on our Youtube Channel, so stay tuned!
Finally, we would like to thank our sponsors and partners for believing in us, without them we would not be in the position that we are currently in! Our sponsors are great ambassadors of robotics, so make sure to check them out!