Darmstadt Dribbling Dackels Darmstadt Dribblers


Platforms & Achievements: first rate ranks for cooperating teams of soccer playing four-legged and humanoid robots

Four Legged League
Humanoid Robot Kid Size: Bruno and Jan
Humanoid Robot Teen Size: Lara
Four Legged League

In the Four Legged League the Darmstadt Dribbling Dackels compete in RoboCup since 2001. On national level the team participated several times at the German Open:

  • Winning the championship three times in 2002, 2003, and 2007,
  • reaching the finals four years in succession from 2001 until 2004.

On international level the team is part of the GermanTeam, a cooperation together with teams from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Universität Bremen, and formerly until 2005 Universität Dortmund. The GermanTeam has been very successful at the international RoboCup competitions:

  • Becoming World champion twice at RoboCup 2004 in Lisbon and RoboCup 2005 in Osaka,
  • winning the Technical Challenge twice at RoboCup 2003 in Padova and RoboCup 2007 in Atlanta,
  • reaching the semi-finals at RoboCup 2006 in Bremen,
  • reaching the quarter-finals at RoboCup 2002 in Fukuoka, RoboCup 2003 in Padova, and RoboCup 2007 in Atlanta.

In order to support the progress of RoboCup the GermanTeam publishes its source code together with extensive documentation regularly. Many teams in the world have used the published source code of the GermanTeam from 2004 and 2005 as an excellent starting basis for their development, e.g. in 2005 the Dutch Aibo Team, the German Hamburg Dog Bots, the Italian SPQR+Sicilia, Tec RAMS Mexico, and the Chinese teams Wright Eagle, TsinghuaHephaestus, and sharPKUngfu.

Also the behavior specification language XABSL which was developed by the GermanTeam is being used by a large number of teams in RoboCup even outside the Four Legged League.

Humanoid Robot Kid Size: Bruno and Jan

The Darmstadt Dribblers & Hajime Team achieves in the three disciplines of the Humanoid KidSize League an excellent overall result in comparison with the 16 competing teams:

  • 2nd place in the Technical Challenge,
  • 3rd place in the 2-2 games,
  • 3rd place in the penalty kick competition.

Our striker Bruno scored 27 goals in total (16 in the 2-2 games and 11 in the penalty kick competition). Moreover we have presented many new technologies at RoboCup 2006:

  • The Darmstadt Dribblers & Hajime Team is the only of the top three teams which does not use circumferential vision but the technologically much more challenging (but also more human-like), directed artificial vision with limited field of view (see the report in German at heise online from June 17, 2006).
  • Our striker Bruno made the first ever backheel kick of a soccer playing humanoid robot and scored a goal in the penalty kick competition on June 14, 2006 video wmv mpg).
  • No other humanoid robot at RoboCup 2006 has demonstrated so many different kicking and walking motions as Bruno, including an especially acrobatic kicking technique using his whole body (video wmv mpg). Brunos capabilities have even been directly compared with Beckham in the Berliner Morgenpost.
  • Bruno and Jan have several times demonstrated in the 2-2 game for the 3rd place team cooperation and role change as offensive and defensive field players (video wmv mpg).
  • Bruno has demonstrated his further improved maximum walking speed of 40cm/s (about 1.5 km/h) in several demo races. In direct comparison with the two finalists of the footrace of the tall humanoid robots (TeenSize) he clearly outrun both. In a race with six four-legged Aibo robots optimized for speed he achieved a remarkable fifth place (video wmv mpg).
  • Bruno was able to pass the technical challenge of the rough terrain in two different ways, one was developed by Hajime Sakamoto and the other by the Darmstadt Dribblers. Both ways were faster than any other humanoid robot trying to pass the rough terrain at RoboCup 2006 (see the video of Bruno passing the rough terrain in sensational 7.5 seconds).
  • Bruno and Jan are the first (and so far only) humanoid robots at RoboCup exhibiting emotional reactions on scoring or receiving a goal during the 2-2 games (Video wmv mpg).
An audio-visual presentation of Team Darmstadt (in German) appeared in the ZDF Mediathek on June 14.
Humanoid Robot Teen Size: Lara

The Darmstadt Dribblers have presented our robot lady Lara at RoboCup 2006 as the first humanoid robot

  • which at a size of 1.30 m is powered by 34 artificial muscles and not of electrical motors.
  • One muscle consists of 10 double wired, thin wires made of the shape memory alloy Nitinol, which contracts under the effect of a suitable electric current, and can lift up to 3.5 kg. The muscles are arranged following a flexor-extensor principle and weigh almost nothing.
  • A muscle is at the same time actuator and position sensor. Using the electrical resistance the length of contraction can be determined.
  • The control of the muscles must account for the nonlinear and hysteretic behavior of the muscle's material.
  • Lara's overall weight is approximately 6 kg only (including battery supply, camera and pocket PC as well as the exterior design parts).
  • The design of Lara has been developed by four students of the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach.
  • Lara's components have only been completed at beginning of RoboCup 2006 in Bremen. Because of a short-circuit whole body motions could not be demonstrated in Bremen. However, the motions of arms and legs have been individually tested sucessfully before (see a video of February 2006).

The MIT Technology Review published a report on Lara on June 19, 2006, (in German) under the title "Grazile Schönheit" (i.e., gracile beauty).