Amir & Nao gone viral!


Last weekend, Amir thought it would be a good idea to kill some time by dancing with one of our Nao robots, Persian style! Not only that, he recorded the whole thing and shared it amongst his friends. Two days later, the clip has gone viral in Iran and now Dutch media is catching on as well.

“My dear friends, thank you for your kindness and support of this video. I never thought that this video will go viral. Due to your kind comments, I thought that it is necessary for me to explain the story in detail to make sure nothing is ambiguous for the viewers.
I made this video during the weekend while I was doing experiments with our domestic service robot. When our main robot, Alice, was being charged, I thought it would be fun to dance with Radio Javan podcasts with the Naos. The dance script is not mine; it is part of the robot software application. The original script is for Valentine Verbrand (Evolution of Dance). The credits to this artist was part of the description of the video, and I mentioned it an all the channels that I had access to. I just matched the music with the movements, and danced with the robot. I sent the video to my friends, and my journalist friend, Arman Eslambolchi posted it on YouTube, and promoted it through his channels. I hope that you enjoyed the music and had fun dancing.”

Original Dance Script: Valentin Bertrand(TheAmazel), Evolution of Dance
Music: DJ Taba, Aboatash, Radio Javan
Dance: Amirhossein Shantia & NAO(Zuko), our robot

News coverage:
RTV Noord, Hart van Nederland, Dagblad van het Noorden, Interview with OOG TV.

New Nao’s Naming Ceremony


Today the new Nao’s were baptized and given their names. We welcome Eska, Zuko, Hama, Iroh and Desna to our robotics team! Inspired by Avatars legend of Aang and Korra; these five humanoids will bend the new students to their will, teaching them about the fundamental elements of robotics.
After the names were given, Hama showed what a real waterbender can do :)

More photos from the New Nao's Naming Ceremony album

We found some young researchers


During the Robotics day organised by De Jonge Onderzoekers we saw a lot of potential ‘young researchers’ ranging from age 3 to 61. Most were only visiting, but some were working with Lego Mindstorms, Arduino’s, 3D printers, custom robots; in short — the lot.

We were given a nice spot on the ground floor which Alice could map easily, except for an electricity post in the dead center of the room. After some tables and chairs were shuffled around, we could start preparing for the demo’s we had in mind, if only we had the time.

We started out by setting up the ‘follow me’ demonstration by Ruben and Lisette in which a human (point cloud) was tracked using a 3D (xtion) camera. This information was fed to a software turtle bot which could be controlled through moving in front of the xtion.

A few minutes later, two Nao’s were set up to show some dance moves, take selfies and show their best kick! In the meanwhile Alice had mapped the environment and was getting ready to show how she incorporated voice recognition, object recognition, navigation and object manipulation.

But — as young researchers should — they were far more interested in the inner workings, ranging from the laser data and map visualization in Rviz to how Alice perceived a human and arm control. “Can she see how many fingers i’m holding up?”

The funny thing is that — as soon as the robot displays some hints of intelligence — these ‘researchers’ will assign all possible attributes of intelligence to the robot. Within a few minutes they start to Turing test the machine by torpedoing Alice with questions (in both Dutch and English) and expect perfect answers.

You could say they were shooting for the stars, and maybe we should too.

More photos from the Robotdag @ De Jonge Onderzoekers Groningen album

Robotics day in Groningen


Alice and Nao are getting ready to join De Jonge Onderzoekers next Sunday to show young researchers what can be done with and in Robotics. They will need to get up at 8 so we’ll them start with a cup of coffee.

Together with the First Lego League and First Tech Challenge team, Impossible Robotics, we will host a day of demonstrations on Sunday June 14th at Dirk Huizingastraat 13 near the University Medical Centre in Groningen.

Would you like to see us and other robot groups in action? Check for more info!

Nao holding coffee cup

Final day of the RoboCup


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Second day of the competition


The second day started with the person recognition test. Alice first had to scan a person, and after that she had to find the same person again in a group of six. Alice was not able to track the specific person, but she was able to tell us that there was one woman in the group.

The GPSR test went very well. She completed most of the tasks that were given to her. She had to entered the area trough the door, then executed one randomly picked command, which contained navigation, human-robot interaction and robot-object interaction, and after accomplishing the assigned task, Alice had to leave the area. By completing the first two tasks, we won this challenge.

The last test of the day was to wake somebody up, and to provide the sleeper a breakfast. Alice woke the sleeper up by gently saying ‘please wake up’ and turning on the lights. When the person was awake she asked what he sleeper wanted for breakfast. He said to want a digestive in milk with apple, which Alice started to provide for him. Unfortunately while driving to the kitchen Alice hesitated to go through the door and the time was up. Fortunately this was enough to win the challenge.

Alice action Alice gpsr_1 Alice, Rick en Anton

Start of the competition


The competition started smoothly with the RoboZoo yesterday morning. We did a small game with the children, in which they could communicate with Alice. Alice asked the children to guess a number between 1 and 10, and all the children guessed ambitiously.

The navigation task went very well, Alice navigated trough the bedroom and living room. At the very end, Alice was not able to avoid the trash bin.

The last task of the day was the speech detection task. Alice had some trouble understanding the Iranian man, due to his accent and noisy sounds, but she detected the man many times.

Summing up, it has been a good first day of the competition, we are currently on the second place, but the Team cannot wait to continue.

Ben en groep Navigation test Speech recognition test

Setting up: Day 2


The second day started early, to be in time for the openening ceremony. It was inspiring to see how much the Iranian RoboCup competition has grown in the last 10 years.
The Team has been busy all day with programming and testing Alice, preparing the presentation of tonight and with making models of the object, which has to be recognized in the coming tests.
Alice knows where all the objects are in the arena and can navigate in it.

Another occupation of the Team are interviews. There’s a lot a international and national media-attention for the BORG team, and they have a lot of questionss for us. They are very interested in where we come from, which study we do and what we think of Iran.

Tomorrow is the big day that the competion starts. The first assignments will be navigation, manipalution and speech detection.

Aan het werk met de robot Ben en Timmers aan werk Anton lichter Smit, interview

Alice and Team BORG arrived in Iran


Last night, we arrived safely at our Olympic hotel in Iran.
After a short night and a for us unusual breakfast, we walked to the RoboCup venue.

We unpacked Alice carefully out of the red flightcase, and fortunately she appeared to be unharmed. Alice is built up, and the Team is working hard to prepare Alice in time for the RoboCup at the moment.

Koffers op Schiphol Anton in gesprek Mark Test


Alice and the team have been preparing for months and we are heading to the IranOpen RoboCup@Home competition! Well.. tomorrow. Today was about last-minute packing and “don’t forget your toothbrush and those extra ethernet cables!”
During the next week we will try to keep you updated on Alice, the challenges and the team. See you all soon!

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