News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

Linux robots descend on Atlanta

Jul 5, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Linux-powered robots are flocking to Atlanta this week to compete in the Robocup scientific competition. The eleventh annual event has attracted at least two Linux-based designs aiming to replace Sony's Aibo as the de facto hardware platform for standard Robocup league play.

Spread the word:
digg this story

Robocup organizers say that in more than a decade, robotic soccer has evolved considerably. Players reportedly now move quickly, have little difficulty finding and shooting the ball, and can even show signs of teamwork.

Quite a few scientific teams competing in Robocup have traditionally built their robots on top of Sony's AIBO (artificial intelligence bot) platform, a canid design with an open API (application programming interface). However, Sony announced in January of 2006 that it would discontinue AIBO, as well as QRIO, its humanoid design. As a result, at least two companies at this year's Robocup are billing their entries as AIBO replacements.

One of the designs — Aldebaran's Nao — has been under development for more than two years. It has a humanoid hardware design, and runs a Linux-based operating system, along with software from the open source Universal Real-time Behaviour Interface (URBI) project.

Aldebaran will also field a smaller, second-generation Nao design (pictured at right) at the competition. The “new Nao” is smaller, and features stereo-vision eyes, along with pate-mounted sensors. It also has a red rather than blue hull. Aldebaran promises to reveal more details about the design after the competition.

Despite having learned to play soccer in France, Aldebaran promises that its robots “won't headbutt!”

“No, it won't headbutt!” promises Aldebaran

The other would-be AIBO replacement — der neue Roboter (the new robot) — has a canid design similar to the AIBO. According to LinuxDevices reader Jan Wedekind, of the Sheffield Hallam University, the robot was co-developed by the Technical University of Darmstadt (TU Darmstadt), together with the Hajime Research Institute, which was founded in Osaka, Japan by AIBO creator Hajime Sorayama. The effort took six months to complete, led by TU Darmstadt professor Dr. Oskar von Stryk. Casing design was outsourced to Gotha Design, Wedekind said.

AIBO and Der neue Roboter scrum
(Click to enlarge)

Der neue Roboter is much larger than the AIBO, measuring 15.75 x 11.8 x 9.8 inches (40 x 30 x 25cm), and weighing it at 5.5 pounds (2.5kg). It has 15 joints, including three for each leg, and three for the neck.

Der neue Roboter is powered by a 500MHz AMD Geode LX800 processor. Its head integrates a single VGA (640 x 480) camera claimed to capture video at 90 fps. Other I/O includes WLAN, four buttons, and a rump-mounted mini-display. It is powered by a lithium-ion polymer battery, according to Wedekind.

Additional photos and videos of the der neue Roboter can be found here. Aldebaran maintains a video page where Nao can be seen shooting and scoring, here.

More about the eleventh annual Robocup in Atlanta this week can be found here.

Henry Kingman

Thanks to Jan Wedekind and Bastien Parent for calling der neue Roboter and Nao to our attention.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Comments are closed.