This period I did a Robotics course in which we (in teams of about five) had to program a robot to do one or more of the tests of the RoboCup @home league. This league is made to be more realistic than the RoboCup soccer leagues and is set in a random living room and kitchen environment. There are a number of tests in which a robot can participate, all of them are pretty hard and rely heavily upon advanced vision and user-robot interaction.
We participated in three tests: Follow & Guide, Lost & Found and Who is who. To make it a little easier we only ran in the proof of concept phase, in which we could tweak our envionment a little. Which meant we where allowed to use brightly colored objects. This made it a little easier for us on the vision side, but we still had to deal with things like color-consistency (If for instance light from outside shines on an object, for a camera it has a different color as opposed to when another kind of light source illuminates the object. The same thing go's for shadows as opposed to not-shadows. This problem is called the color consistency problem).
In follow our robot had to follow a random human, in lost & found our robot had to find a not previously specified object and in who is who our robot had to learn to recognize four persons and after that it had to identify an intruder (someone who wasn't there before).
During the match, which was yesterday, our team competed against four other teams. There where a lot of problems for everyone, us included. But we gained the first points and despite that we had a time shortage problem and didn't test a lot and our vision obstacle avoidance wasn't finished, we did pretty well. We came in fourth. This doesn't sound all that well, but considering the difficulty and the small amount of difference in points between 3th and 4th, we are really happy! And sort of glad that it is over, because it was a tremendous amount of work for seven weeks..