A recent experiment led to a robot mini cheetah to learn movements of a soccer goalkeeper with the idea that it could react to the tracking of objects.
The researchers sought to give the device other types of locomotion, such as reflections and the interception of objects. For that, they confronted the robot with another similar one and also with a human, both of them threw penalties at him while he stopped them.
In the article published by MIT, it is said that the mini cheetah he had three movements to act as a goalkeeper: dodge, jump and crouch, preventing the ball from passing him.
Quadrupedal soccer goal is a challenging problem that combines highly dynamic locomotion with precise and rapid manipulation of non-prehensile objects.
“The robot needs to react to and intercept a potentially flying ball using dynamic locomotion maneuvers in a very short period of time, typically less than a second,” they added.
the robot archer
During the experiment several scenarios were created, one robot vs. robot and another robot vs. human, in the latter mini cheetah he had an 87% saving effectiveness, reacting well to balls going high, while having some trouble stopping ones from the ground, especially to his left.
While with his robotic rival he covered all, this due to the speed of the shots sent. Although in both scenarios his reaction was very fast, averaging 0.5 seconds to stop the ball or move to the place he was going.
Although this is not the first time that scientists have used robots to play soccer, the objective of this work goes further and wants to look for additional movements, for that reason they started with the goalkeeper who must constantly work on reflexes.
But the same scheme they used with the mini cheetah goalkeeper can replicate it for other roles on the pitch, “like kicking soccer balls with multiple skills.” What opens the door to a series of conditions that can be enhanced to this type of device to adapt them to different tasks.
More soccer videos with robots
For several years now, technology enthusiasts have organized robot tournaments around the world. Developers have created devices with different designs, from robots standing on two legs, to a kind of mini two-wheeled car that makes them faster and more mobile.
An example was the Robo Cup which took place this year in Bangkok, Thailand, where nearly 3 thousand participants from 45 different countries met. There, small-sized devices and others with a height similar to that of a human were shown.
A large part of this type of exhibition is aimed at university audiences, who seek to innovate in new mobility formats for robots, as happened in the MIT with the Mini Cheetah, for the first time a device of these characteristics was seen playing soccer.
Another example, which was more focused on entertainment, was the one a couple of years ago in Japan when they invited Leo Messi to kick a series of penalties, which were saved by a goalkeeper who responded to where the ball was going. A game that is popular in other parts of the world, replicated by teams or brands at events with fans.