Category Archives: News

First Day of RoboCup

DSC00964It’s Thursday morning here in Germany, and we couldn’t tell you how excited we are about the first day of RoboCup! Our first match was against the third place winners of last year, ZJUNlict from Zhejiang University, China. We lost to them back then, and again today, but we won’t let the initial loss hurt our spirits. Well done ZJUNlict, we’ll get you next time!

In order to improve after each game we have one member record issues that they and other members see! These include the time at which the issue happened and a short description. After the match the team has a meeting and goes through all of the observations and discuss the source of the problem. Along with how or who is going to fix it.  

We followed this procedure after the game with ZJUNlict and solved some significant issues for our next game against RoboJackets from Georgia Tech, USA. And it worked! We proudly won 3-0 in what was a very solid game from both sides.

Team Photo with RoboJackets

Although it is a competition, RoboCup is truly an community. It’s friends and like-minded people working together to advance robotics and artificial intelligence, and is also an amazing time. It’s very common for teams to give a gifts to each other representing their home country or university. This year we are gifting thank-you cards signed by the team, and Canadian mini hockey sticks.

This year ZJUNlict gave us a truly beautiful matching set of a keyring and bookmark.

As the first official day of RoboCup, the crowds were a lot bigger than the previous days. It’s awesome to see all the fans!


Here’s to an amazing first day, and stay tuned for day two!

Road to RoboCup 2016


UBC Thunderbots has finally arrived in Leipzig, Germany for RoboCup 2016! The team departed YVR airport on Sunday and after 25+ hours traveling, including small exposition through Frankfurt during a layover, we finally checked into our hotel in Leipzig.

Fun fact: Despite only traveling for 25 hours, it took us 3 days to arrive at our hotel in Leipzig!

After 4 hours of sleep we are still more excited than exhausted as we prepare our robots for the start of the competition on Thursday.

Along with the usually tweaking and testing, we are eagerly awaiting a practice match against our long-time German friends ER-Force. We’re just about ready to test our robot’s new skills in a real match!

As Thursday approaches RoboCup 2016 is getting more and more active. Here are some snapshots of what RoboCup has to offer!

RoboCup@Home aims to create robots that will assist people in their own homes, whether it be vacuuming, taking care of the elderly, or to bring you cold drinks

A robot competing in RoboCup@Home

RoboCup Rescue is a league that makes search and rescue robots! They must be able to cross numerous difficult terrain in order to show versatility in rescue environments.  The course is currently being built from the ground up inside the convention centre.

Humanoid League creates soccer playing robots that move and look like humans! They come in all different shapes and are categorized into adult, teen, and kid size leagues.

Mid Size League robots are just like our larger siblings! The big difference is that they they have their own eyes. Each robot has its own camera that sees the field from its point of view, and they play with an official FIFA size soccer ball.

Mid size robots with moving with a ball

We hope you  enjoyed a small selection of what RoboCup has to offer this year, and are looking forward to RoboCup 2016 as much as we are.

Stay tuned for updates!

Welcome New Members!

After two weeks of recruiting, applications, and interviews, we would to welcome this year’s batch of new members!

Last Saturday, we had a fantastic time getting to know over 50 new members. Our new members range from various engineering backgrounds from first-years to masters students, as well as a few students studying computer science.

Our day consisted of a brief introduction to our Technical Lead (Scott Churchley), Admin Co-Leads (Paula Morales and Michaela Ragoonath), Electrical Lead (Ellis Su), Software Co-Leads (Kevin Zhang and James Petrie), and Mechanical Lead (Brian Wang), as well as the rest of our current team members. Each lead described their sub-team’s contributions towards Thunderbots and their overall goals for the year, followed by an explanation of our most important competition: RoboCup! We then broke up the new members into their designated sub-teams to further discuss the robots. Of course, we had to celebrate with some pizza and beverages! Take a look at some of the photos below:

Imagine Day 2015

UBC Thunderbots would like to start the year off with a big…


Our first official day of the 2015/2016 season has started and today also marks our first day of recruitment.

As one of the largest university orientations in British Columbia, Imagine Day brought about a wave of first year and transfer students to campus, giving us the perfect chance to showcase our team. We spent the majority of the day on Main Mall where we were able to interact with numerous students passing by. With our presentation board, cool souvenirs from our recent trip, and a live-action x-box demonstration, members from each sub-team were able to recruit over 200 UBC undergraduate and graduate students who showed great interest in our team!! We are extremely pumped for the coming year and we look forward to all your applications!

Imagine Day 2015If you missed the chance to talk to some of our members today but are still interested in applying, fear no more! Our application can be found here.

We will be making classroom appearances throughout the first two weeks of this term. We will also be making an appearance at the UBC EUS Student Teams BBQ on Wednesday, September 9th. Information on the location and time can be found here.


What time is it, you ask? According to our clock… it’s‪ #‎ThrowbackThursday‬ time! And what better way to spend your Thursday than to reminisce about our recent trip across the Pacific Ocean 🙂

Take a look at our recent recap video shown below, courtesy of our Admin, Paula!

(Be sure to watch it in 720p… Shout out to Mech Team Lead Brian Wang for letting us use his GoPro)

Back to Reality: Post-Robocup 2015

It has been a week since we arrived from China and we are already having travel withdrawals! Our journey back to Vancouver via Los Angeles was quite the adventure, but we managed to get back home safe and sound.

Robocup itself was a unique experience especially for those who were attending the competition for the first time. We brought a total of 15 members to China, 7 of which were new-comers. The team worked day and night to make sure our robots were in tip-top shape for our matches. Our robots performed to the best of their abilities, playing against some of the top teams in the league. Unfortunately, we were a few points short of making it into the finals. Regardless of the outcome, we acquired some valuable knowledge which will surely help us improve our robots in the coming year. We would like to congratulate those teams who made it through to the final matches… Well done! (Special shout-out to CM Dragons from Carnagie Mellon Univeristy for winning first place!)

Aside from Robocup, we experienced some aspects of the Chinese culture during our 10 days and found it rather interesting! We found it difficult to connect to the internet (hence the lack of blog posts) but we are making up for it with pictures! Highlights of our trip include taking the overnight train from Shanghai to Hefei, eating traditional Chinese-cuisine with our friends from ER-Force (Germany) and ZJUNlict (China), using  the intricate subway system in SHanghai, and visiting the Yuyuan Market before our flight to LA.

Now that we’re back in Vancouver, the team will meet for a Robocup debrief before taking a short break. Recruitment for new members begins in September on Imagine Day so stay tuned on how you can become a part of our team.

Now for long-awaited Robocup photos:

LMS_5255 LMS_5548LMS_5216 LMS_5660 LMS_5721 LMS_5772

Robocup 2015: Post-Round Robin Update

After two days of on-site preparations, we began the first day of round-robin against ZJUNlict and MCT Susano Logics. Both matches were played exceptionally well as all the teams were engaged in game.

During the second day of round-robin, Thunderbots played excellent games against Tigers Mannheim and RFC Cambridge, with a score of 10-0 in favour of our team against RFC Cambidge!

Here are some photos from the round-robin games!


UBC Thunderbots and ZJUNlict


UBC Thunderbots and MCT Susano Logics


UBC Thunderbots and Tigers Mannheim


Week 1 2014W – Imagine Day, Lunch & Learn, and a New School Year!

UBC Thunderbots welcomes you back to another year at UBC, and for those that are joining us for the first time, welcome! Things were off to a rough start this year with some severe rainfall on Imagine Day – it’s like the weather knows it needs to get back to work and rain on us.


2014 UBC Imagine Day – More like Rain-magine Day.
September 2, 2014

In spite of the heavy rain that got out of control sometime mid-afternoon, we found ourselves a tent and continued to showcase our robots even though rain and our robots don’t really get along with each other.  Thankfully our tent was large enough to run a live demo safely, though our team members suffered and stood in the rain as they tried their best explaining what we do to curious students. Their hard work paid off as our demo generated a lot of interest from freshmen and senior students alike, piquing the interest of over 125 students in our robots. Thank you to everyone that stopped by to speak with us, it is nice to know that rain mishaps won’t stop students’ plans to learn more about clubs.


EDTC Lunch & Learn – BBQ, First Years, & Robot Shenanigans
September 3, 2014

The EDTC Lunch & Learn was an event exposed curious 1st year Applied Sciences students to various engineering design student teams at UBC and give them an idea on how they can apply their skills to an ongoing student team project. Hosted right at our home base in the Engineering Design Center, we had our robots running around freely literally on its home turf.

Scott running the presentation
Scott running the presentation

Scott Churchley – our Technical Lead – gave a presentation on our robots and how it works while our safety officer Alice Lam ran the demo at full speed. We drew in a sizable crowd throughout the lunch hour as our two seniors engaged in some serious robot shenanigans.

Home base: swag-ified

New Year, New Goals….

There is a lot of work ahead of us as we have ambitious plans for this upcoming year. Seeing the performance of our competitors’ robots at the 2014 RoboCup Competition, the team agrees that a complete design overhaul for our robots will put ourselves in a better position for next year’s competition at Hefei, China. We thought the best way to start our design overhaul is to give our home base some new decor, so up went the swag we collected over the years at previous RoboCup competitions – roadside banners, team jerseys, posters and more! With our swag-ified workspace all ready to go, our members will hopefully find new inspirations for our new fleet of robots!


…and New Member Recruitment!

Our Mechanical, Electrical, and Software team leads are currently looking for dedicated, ambitious individuals to help us succeed in next year’s competition, so if you are interested in joining and haven’t applied, be sure to register here and tell us why you should be recruited. Our first round recruitment ends this upcoming Wednesday, September 8, 2014, so be sure to apply if you are interested.

We’ll also be at BizWeek for Admin Recruitment!
September 11, 2014 11:00 – 14:00

The Admin team will be at BizWeek this upcoming Thursday to recruit new admin team members. They will be looking for candidates that have experience in social media, event management, travel planning, using design tools, and approaching possible sponsors for funding. If you want to be involved in a managerial role with us, be sure to find us outside (or inside if it’s raining) the Henry Angus building this Thursday between 11:00 – 14:00! We’ll have full job descriptions at our booth.


And that’s a wrap folks, check back next week for another weekly update!

Robocup 2014: The videos and some rule changes

What’s this?! Another blog post?! That’s right, we’re still not done blogging! Just like how movies must have sequels (as many until they can get away with), Tbots must have another blog post!

This time, we bring you videos! All 6 of our games are up on our channel on Youtube (that’s 5 official games and 1 friendly game).

Click here to get to our Youtube channel.

You’ll probably notice one strange thing about the games, can you figure it out? Did the bots suddenly get smaller? Guess again… the field is actually much larger! This year, the league decided to double the size of the playing field, with this year being optional and future years being mandatory. This move is mainly motivated by the need to:

1, Keep the games interesting (ball goes out of bounds less often, theoretically)

2. Prevent overcrowding (and bots pushing against each other)

3. Allow for more complex strategies (there’s room to actually move!)

4. More passes can be made successfully

5. Most importantly, it makes the game more like real soccer (where players tend to have a lot of room to move around)

I lied, number 3 is actually the most important one . “Why isn’t it number one then? ” You may ask…I don’t know I just listed these reasons arbitrarily! But back to the  topic, Robocup has a mission statement that states that it wants a team of adult sized humanoid robots to beat the most recent FIFA World Cup champions by the year 2050. Robocup isn’t going to reach that goal with the Small-sized Leagues contribution! So a push make further technical progress with SSL gameplay is sorely needed and doubling field size is a way to promote that (making games more interesting to watch is nice cherry on top as well).

Hopefully, the league will start seeing more interesting plays at future games, Tbots certainly has few ideas.

Robocup 2014: The Games

This year, thousands upon thousands of foreigners descend upon Brazil to witness the greatest sporting event in the world. And no, it’s not the FIFA World Cup with its mundane human soccer players, that’s old news. I’m talking about Robocup 2014 and its hyper-advanced robotic soccer players!

The tower at the venue, most people though this was an airport control tower at a distance

Using the brand new convention center as the competition venue, Tbots began its quest for glory against 21 other teams from around the world. 

Nice, spacious, and colourful

If there’s one similarity between the FIFA World Cup and Robocup, it’s that the tournament progression is the exact same. Tbots plays every team in our round robin group before advancing to a knockout style tournament.

The first day of games ended with a tie with our good friends ER-Force (Germany), and a win against RoboIME (Brazil). Day two ended with a loss against one of the best teams in the league, RoboDragons (Japan) and a win against ACES (Pakistan). This places us third in our round robin group. The third day of the tournament unfortunately started with another loss, this time against Immortals (Iran), another top tier team, knocking us out of the tournament. Tbots finished the day with a friendly game with Tigers Mannheim (Germany) with another tie.

After all that, Tbots managed to take 9th place out of 21 teams! This time with drastically more robust and reliable robots, with no magic smoke, mysterious flashes, and random parts coming from our robots (all of which make robot soccer far more interesting to watch than human soccer)!

Team photo with Immortals

You can check out detailed scoring here

Videos of our non-human soccer-filled adventures will be posted soon…