2013 FIRST® Robotics Competition

RoboRealm is a software application that provides you the ability to rapidly process images from the Kinect and/or Axis IP camera in order to visually detect field elements. You can use RoboRealm to track positional markers, follow lines, track balls, and augment camera images with additional visual graphics. RoboRealm is an ideal vision platform for the Hybrid Autonomous period and human controlled parts of the competition (i.e. Augmented Driving).

In the spirit of inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders, RoboRealm is actively supporting the 2013 FIRST® Robotics Competition. We are happy to announce that this support comes with free copies of RoboRealm for any team that chooses to use RoboRealm in some way for the competition.

As the 2013 season is over you can still download a trial copy that will expire at the time you receive the 2014 KitOfParts which will include a RoboRealm license.


The following tutorials outline several possible ways to perform automated vision based target tracking and targeting for the 2013 FIRST® Robotics Competition. The actual method you use may be a variation of the following techniques, but these examples should for a base from which to work from. Keep in mind that the solutions presented here are not the only possible solutions and therefore if your final method differs from that presented that does not necessarily mean its wrong.

These tutorials assume you are using some sort of visual hardware device on your FIRST robot and that you are interested in using an autonomous guidance mechanism to keep track of the goal targets. The targets are made of 4" retro-reflective tape which will reflect light directly back to the source. To see this characteristic of retro-reflective tape use a flashlight and while holding the flashlight right next to your eyes shine the light towards the reflective tape. You will notice that only when your eye and the flashlight are in line will the reflective tape have the best response.

Detecting a Visual Target  The 2013 target can be detected using several different visual methods. If you are not sure what device or configuration to use this tutorial outlines the various different methods that can be used for detection.

Using the Kinect  If you have decided to use the Kinect on your robot for target tracking, this tutorial covers the setup of the Kinect drivers and initial image capture using RoboRealm. This assumes you are running a netbook/laptop onboard your robot.

Using the Axis  If you have decided to use the Axis camera on your robot for target tracking, this tutorial covers how to capture images from the Axis camera using RoboRealm.

Using a webcam  If you have decided to use a webcam on your robot for target tracking, this tutorial covers image capture using RoboRealm and the control of digital zooming. This assumes you are running a netbook/laptop onboard your robot.

Visual Targeting  Regardless of if you get an IR or RGB image from the Kinect or Axis cameras you will still have to process the image to extract out a target to determine the distance to the target.

Visual Localization  If you plan to use the visual target to help localize your robot, you can use the Target Localization module to provide enhanced image processing and pose estimation of the target. While slower than Visual Targeting, this method provides much richer information and allows for the target to be only partially visible.

Communication  Once you've determined the distance and location of the desired target you'll need to communicate that to the CRio. Using the Network Tables protocol, RoboRealm can share information to the CRio or any other device on the network like the Smartdashboard does. Using the Network Tables module, you can send the resulting data to the CRio in order to move your targeting system appropriately.

For more information

FRC 2017 RoboRealm Tutorials
FRC 2016 RoboRealm Tutorials
FRC 2015 RoboRealm Tutorials
FRC 2014 RoboRealm Tutorials
FRC 2012 RoboRealm Tutorials
Robot programming with WPILib
FIRST Robotics Resource Center

Special Thanks

All images used in these tutorials unless otherwise noted are courtesy of the previous Club Workshop in Denver, Colorado.

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