Robin Soetens

Describe yourself: Who you are and what you're doing?
My name is Robin Soetens, I'm a mechanical engineering student at the research group of Prof. Maarten Steinbuch at Eindhoven University of Technology. This summer, at RoboCup 2012 in Mexico City, we won a world title in robotics soccer with our team Tech United Eindhoven. Currently I'm doing an internship at the group of Prof. Manuela Veloso of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

The final match, RoboCup 2012 in Mexico City.

How did your interest in robots / robotics start?
As an undergraduate student in Eindhoven, I saw a video of our RoboCup team playing the final match of RoboCup 2010 in Singapore. Eventually a team from China beat them by scoring a goal with less than a minute to play but the game was amazing! I've never been good at playing human soccer but robot-soccer was great! So the following year I signed up with the team, which is led by dr. René van de Molengraft, and I was impressed by the level of teamwork required to build such a complicated machine. That's one of the things I like most about robotics, it requires people from various technological backgrounds to work together in a team.

What kind of actions needs to be done in the community to increase the interest and the awareness of robots / robotics?
At a young age, we should offer every kid the opportunity to be amazed by technology. Turning a piece of hardware into a working device is a great experience. That's why RoboCup Junior is so important. Prior to last year's RoboCup Dutch Open, we visited over 300 classrooms of elementary schools in the proximity of Eindhoven. It's overwhelming to see how excited these kids are as soon as they see a robot moving around! At an older age, we should also show how society moves forward by developing new technology. Medical robotics is a good example, both for care and cure. As a robotics engineer you can help keep healthcare affordable and increase the number of curable deceases.

The video shows a robot for haptically-assisted surgery, Eindhoven University of Technology.

If you have any closing remarks or comments about robots / robotics, then go ahead.
Only a few months from now, the city of Eindhoven will host RoboCup 2013. From June 24 until June 30, about 2300 participants from over 40 countries will compete in leagues for autonomous robot soccer, but also in competitions with robots doing household, service and rescue tasks. All Vive Les Robots readers invited!

Robocup 2013: Official site
Robocup 2013: Facebook page
Robocup 2013: Twitter page
Tech United

Read more:
RoboCup & Tech United Eindhoven
Raphael Favier

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Robin Soetens

Robin Soetens is a mechanical engineering student at the research group of Prof. Maarten Steinbuch at Eindhoven University of Technology.

Robin Soetens 2

Here Robin is out on a elementary school and teaches about robots, in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.