Live from RoboCup 2009

This week Richard Allen, Physicist, NIST, will be live blogging from RoboCup 2009 covering the MEMS-scale robot league.

June 27, 2009

First, I would like to introduce myself to those who don’t know me.  I am Richard Allen and I am a physicist in the Semiconductor Electronics Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland U.S.A.  I have been at NIST since 1990.  At NIST my research has been in metrology tools for MEMS (recently) and semiconductor devices.

As I write this, I am on a train, traveling from Vienna, Austria to Graz, Austria.  For the upcoming week, I will be blogging from RoboCup 2009 for MIG.  RoboCup is an international competition devoted to the goal of achieving a team of robotic soccer players who can compete with, and defeat, the human World Cup champions.  Although this goal seems like quite a reach, the target date is 2050.  Soccer was chosen as a means for advancing robotics and artificial intelligence as it is an exciting area, with well-known and well-defined rules and accomplishing this goal will meet many, if not all, of the outstanding technical challenges faced in robotics.

Now the question might arise as to why I am here this week and why MIG asked me to blog this competition:  About three years ago, Michael Gaitan, my co-worker from NIST, proposed to the RoboCup organizers that a MEMS-scale league be developed.  The key parameter defining these MEMS-scale robots are that the largest dimension must be no larger than 300 micrometers.  I will discuss the technical issues associated with these devices over the next few days and I suspect the reader will see many areas where the technical issues associated with making these robots work map to those challenges faced by MEMS device manufactures.

Let the games begin!

The views presented here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of NIST.

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