Well I'm back from American Open. Driving
11 hours each way and going negative in vacation days in
order to go wasn't fun, but it was worth it.
I arrived really late Saturday night of the competition,
while that's about the time my students started driving
there. They got to Atlanta around lunchtime and we all
managed to stay up to 4:30 in the morning that first night
to get things recalibrated and working. But we finally had a
working demo. It wasn't what we were originally hoping for
(two robots playing "Pong"), but we had a robot chasing a
ball, shooting a goal, and knowing not to go out of bounds
on the field.
The next morning we set-up for the demo, but the ambient
light now present during the daytime made the wall look to
be about the same orange as the ball. The robot went
crashing into the wall and our whole camera mount crashed.
It didn't matter that we brought 4 sets of everything.
Before that crash we were already down to our last working set.
Eventually through much fiddling with finicky dongles, we
got the robot up and running, ran our demo, and took a nice
video of it (which I still have yet to put online). Enough
of a success to make us happy and we learned a great deal
from going through the whole ordeal.
Meanwhile I also got to referee and assistant referee a few
of the small-sized games, since I used to be on CMU's
small-sized team and am an experienced referee from past
RoboCups. We also watched quite a few AIBO and Segway games
as well as went to the talks. The craziest AIBO game for me
was the finals, with CMU versus UPenn. I am of course loyal
to my alta mater, CMU. UPenn scored within the first 10
seconds of the game. The game is made up of two 10 minutes
halves. The game remained scoreless until the last 55
seconds when CMU finally scored. They went into 5 minute
goal-to-goal which pretty much just means "sudden death".
CMU scored almost immediately.
I unfortunately could not stay to watch their game against
Dortmund, the winners of the German Open, since I had such a
long haul back and had to go to work the next day. But it
was good to see all my fellow-RoboCuppers again. Maybe next
year I can go again, and maybe actually as either staff or a
grad student at some university this time instead of having
to use vacation days. =)