|The team consists of postgraduate students, and academics from the University of Newcastle and from NUI Maynooth. From NUI Maynooth, Shekman Tang, Alexander Buckley and Prof Rick Middleton travelled to Suzhou (near Shangai) to compete in the competition and attend the symposium from 14 -20 July. Other students (John Doyle and David Gibson) and academics have also provided input to the interdisciplinary team combining Applied Mathematics (The Hamilton Institute), Computer Science and Electronic Engineering; and this work has been supported by a Science Foundation of Ireland – Research Professor Award.|
|The NUbots (from the University of Newcastle) have been competing in RoboCup since 2002 and have been placed in the top 3 since entering the competition, including first place in 2006. In 2008, a joint team with NUI Maynooth was formed with the new name, the NUManoids, competing in the new Standard Platform League. This league uses identical hardware (humanoid Nao Robots from Aldebaran), and teams write their own software for autonomous soccer. The robots have only recently been released, so all 15 teams were intense in trying to advance the robots skills for the competition.|
|After initial setup and
the competition proper started on 16 July. We were the first team to
score an own goal, but fortunately, also the first team to score a
goal. The preliminary rounds were generally low scoring events, and
based on other criteria, the NUManoids were ranked 1st in their pool.
We advanced through the quarter final and semi final without conceding any more goals, and came to face strong opposition in the final from the combined Georgia Tech-Carnegie Mellon (GT/CMU) team. GT/CMU had also scored several goals in the finals round and although slower than the NUManoids, had strong skills in lining up and kicking the ball.
|The final was a tense affair, with neither side being able to gain too much of an advantage and neither side scored. The decision came down to a penalty shoot out. These are a timed chance for a team to score a goal – with multiple ball contact allowed. From the coin toss, GT/CMU had first kick. After the whistle, they lined up their shot carefully, kicked, and the ball went straight towards the goal. They followed up, but were slow to line up correctly but did score a goal after a little over 2 minutes. It was then the NUManoids turn. Our replacement striker (our key Irish striker stumbled, fell and was injured in regular time), was set to take the kick. He lined up, moved in for the kick and managed to keep the ball on target. The goal was scored in a little over 10seconds, with the NUManoids winning because of the shorter time to score.|