Kouretes Robocup Team

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Team Information

The team Kouretes was founded in February 2006. Team activities at this early stage were restricted to the four-legged league, but later team activities were extended to the simulation league. The team is currently active in the Standard Platform League.

Team Name

According to Greek mythology, when Zeus was born on the mountain Ida in Crete, his mother Rhea was frightened that his father Cronus would hear him crying. Cronus made it practice to swallow and eat each of his children as soon as they were born to insure his safety. Rhea entrusted the guardianship of her son to the Daktyls (Fingers) of Ida, also known as the Cretan Kouretes. The Kouretes brothers dressed in armor would "fight" outside the cave where Zeus was hidden, clashing spears and shields and keeping time to a rhythmic stamping of their feet. These sounds drowned out the infant Zeus' cries and prevented his discovery by Cronus. In short and in ancient Greek: "Οἱ Κούρητες ἔνοπλοι ἐν τῷ ἄντρῳ τὸ βρέφος φυλάσσοντες τοῖς δόρασι τὰς ἀσπίδας συνέκρουον, ἵνα μὴ τῆς τοῦ παιδὸς φωνῆς ο Κρόνος ἀκούσῃ" (Apolodoro, Bibliotheca 1.5.4). It is said that one of Kouretes named Herakles (perhaps the earliest embodiment of the later hero Hercules) originated the Olympic Games by instigating a race among his four "finger" brothers. Herakles was the "thumb", while his brothers were Paionaios (fore finger), Epimedes (center finger), Iasios (ring finger), and Idas (little finger).

Team Activity

The team had its first exposure to RoboCup at the RoboCup 2006 event in Bremen, Germany, where it participated in the Technical Challenges of the Four-Legged league. At that time, Aibo programming by the team was done exclusively in an interpreted language, the Universal Real-Time Behavior Interface (URBI), without any use of existing code.

Subsequent work led to the participation of the team in the Four-Legged league of the RoboCup German Open 2007 competition in Hannover, Germany. The software architecture of the team was developed on the basis of previously released code by GT2004 and SPQRL 2006. The tournament included ten teams from all over the world. Kouretes reached the quarterfinals round, where it was defeated by the 2006 World Champion Nubots. The team ranked in the 7th/8th place in a tournament featuring the team's first win and first goals.

In 2007, the team began also working with the newly-released Microsoft Robotics Studio (MSRS). The team's software was developed from scratch exclusively in C# and included all the required services, as well as the motion configuration files for the simulated RobuDog robot of RoboSoft. The team's participation in the MSRS Simulation Challenge at RoboCup 2007 in Atlanta led to the placement of the team at the 2nd place worldwide bringing the first trophy home. The tournament involved nine teams from all over the world; Kouretes was the only European participating team.

In 2008, the team initiated the development of code for the new standard platform, the Aldebaran Nao humanoid robot, using a combination of C++ and Ruby for the real robot, C# for the simulated robot in MSRS, and Java for the simulated robot in Webots. In the RoboCup 2008 competition in Suzhou, China the team participated in all divisions of the Standard Platform league (Aibo robots, Nao robots, Nao Webots simulation, Nao MSRS simulation). The team's efforts were rewarded in the best possible way: 3rd place in Nao league, 1st place in the MSRS simulation, and among the top 8 teams in the Webots RobotStadium competition.

In 2009, the team focused exclusively on the Nao robots and developed new software modules using a combination of C++ and Python. The team participated in the Standard Platform League of the RoboCup German Open 2009 competition in Hannover, Germany and the RoboCup 2009 competition in Graz, Austria. Unfortunately, the team was defeated in the early rounds of the league in both competitions and ranked really low in the real Nao track. On the other hand, a newly-developed Java code for the RobotStadium competition placed the team in the 6th place in the Webots simulation track.

In 2010, the team's software architecture (Monas) was established and software development took a new spin. New modules for motion control, communication, object recognition, self-localization, obstacle avoidance, and statechart-based behavior control started taking shape, while the team's code was made publicly available on the Github repository. The team participated in the 1st ever RoboCup Mediterranean Open competition in Rome and in RoboCup 2010 in Singapore. The performance of the team was rather disappointing, despite the hours and hours of work. On the other hand, in May 2010, the team hosted the 1st official SPL tournament in Greece (with three invited teams) within the Hellenic Conference on Artificial Intelligence (SETN).

In 2011, the team's software architecture (Monas) matured and the new modules were finally integrated one by one on the robots. Team Kouretes joined Team Noxious from UK to form a joint team for RoboCup 2011. The joint team was selected to be among the 28 qualified teams through a competitive process. During the SPL competition at RoboCup 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey in July 2011 our joint team won the Portuguese team (1-0) and lost to NTU Robot PAL (5-1) and HTWK (3-0) during the First Round Robin Round, progressed to the Intermediate Round, lost to WrightEagle Unleashed! (2-0), and was eliminated. However, our team won the 2nd place in the SPL Open Challenge Competition with 139 points, only 3 points behind the top team.

In 2012, work focused on graphical tools for statechart editing, on interleaved walk and kicks, on path planning, on forward and inverse kinematics, and on graphical monitoring tools. The team participated in RoboCup German Open 2012 and Iran Open 2012. Despite the inability to upgrade its robots, the team managed to qualify along with 24 other teams and participate in RoboCup 2012 in Mexico City. During the preliminary round our team lost (10-0) to team B-Human, but won (2-1 in the penalties) against the Portuguese Team. In the intermediate round, our team won (1-0 in the penalties) against team RoboCanes and progressed to the round of 16, where it was eliminated after losing games against Nao Devils (9-0), NTU RobotPAL (5-0), and TT Austin Villa (8-0).