RoboCupJunior is a junior league participated in by children between the ages of 11 and 19. The main focus is on providing a venue for the collaborative learning for all team members, allowing them to cooperate and unite their strengths. RoboCupJunior selects competition themes that raise the participants’ curiosity and exploratory drive and encourage them to meet robot design and building challenges.
RoboCupJunior provides three challenges: Soccer, OnStage, and Rescue.
RoboCup 2017 World Championship Nagoya, Japan sets up primary and secondary age categories, for up to 14 and 19 year olds, respectively, for challenges other than Rescue. A primary team must be comprised of members between the ages of 11 and 14. If a team has one or more members aged between 15 and 19, the team is considered a secondary team.
Two-on-two teams of robots play in the soccer competition. The two robots in a team are allowed to use interactive communication via Bluetooth or ZigBee.
The rules require that the robot size must lie within cylindrical parameters, a maximum of 22 cm in both diameter and height.
According to the weights of the robots, Open League (up to 2.4 kg) and Lightweight League (up to 1.1 kg) divisions are set up. The Lightweight League has two age categories: primary and secondary.
The playing field (pitch) is 122 cm by 183 cm. It is bounded by walls. However, the robots are required to play within an area delineated by white lines. If a robot completely crosses one of the white lines, the team is penalized. The match consists of two 10-minute halves.
In the defending team’s penalty area in front of the goal, the defending robot is prioritized. If the two teams push each other in this area, it is a “pushing” infringement by the attacking team. Incidentally, the rules do not permit the use of two robots in the penalty area to defend the goal.
The OnStage challenge, only organized for the Junior League, tests creativity and artistic sense in particular. RoboCupJunior OnStage is clearly characterized by its rules featuring few restrictions. The most attractive point of this challenge is the use of freewheeling thinking, such as the exploration of robot mechanisms and the pursuit of robot-human collaborations without restrictions in the number of robots or their size.
OnStage adopts a unique examination procedure. The participating children are assessed by interview as well as by observation of the performance of the robots (and the participants themselves). The participants are examined on their presentation and explanatory abilities and ideas. The OnStage criteria are divided into six categories: programming, structure/configuration, use of sensors, choreography, robot costumes, and entertainment. In this competition, primary (up to 14) and secondary (up to 19) age categories will be set up in 2017.
The artistic expression jointly accomplished by robots and humans makes the competition fun for the competitors’ families to watch.