Our undergraduate student Kyle Morris is just on his way back from Korea, after our demonstration at the 2016 IEEE International conference on Robotics and Systems (IROS) took second prize in the fourth IEEE Humanoid Application Challenge. The award was a $1000 US robot hand from SEED Robotics, and we were also awarded $2000 US in travel funding. This is the fourth Humanoid Application Challenge (this year it moved from ICRA to IROS; both of these conferences are the premiere IEEE international conferences on robotics). Kyle and the rest of our team (John Anderson, Meng Cheng Lau, Jacky Baltes) are thrilled to have won first or second/finalist prize in this competition every year it has been run. Some of our previous research was the skating and skiing work you can read about in previous stories on the lab website.
This year the competition had a theme, Robot Magic, intended to drive work on perception and dexterity and interaction with humans, and our application was a card trick that involved interaction with a human (including handing off a card deck, speech recognition, speech synthesis, visual recognition of cards, and machine learning).
While we are exceptionally proud of all of our competition wins, the Humanoid Application Challenge is always special because it also directly lets us do even more interesting work with the equipment that is awarded. Two past years have brought us DARwIn-OP robots that we use directly for humanoid robotics research, for teaching in graduate and undergraduate classes, and in robotic soccer and HuroCup competitions. The hand we got this year will be used for upper-body work (e.g. basketball free throws) in Hurocup, as well as allowing us to do more interesting work in using humanoids to manipulate objects.
Congratulations to everyone involved and welcome back, Kyle!
You can watch a video of the entire presentation here.
We just got back from RoboCup 2016 in Leipzig, Germany, where things went really well this year. Like last year we had a joint teen-size team with Amirkabir University of Technology. We came in third in the world in the teen-size (<1.4m) soccer competition. We also took first place in this year's technical challenge competition (push recovery, i.e. a robot being able to remain on its feet after being pushed, high jumps, and high kicks).. Working with larger size robots is a challenge, with greater requirements on servos, batteries, and transportation logistics. Many thanks to our partners at AUT, and the students and faculty from our lab that put work into this: Amirhossein Hosseinmemar, Kile Morris, Abdul-Rasheed Audu, Chi Fung (Andy) Lun, Long Yu, Meng Cheng (MC) Lau, John Anderson, and Jacky Baltes. Jacky, John, MC, and Kyle made the trip to Germany so many thanks for all the hours put in while at RoboCup too! Some of the team are still traveling, so more pictures and video will be available shortly.
We also found out that our bid to bring the event to Canada for the first time (Montreal, 2018) was successful, so congratulations to Jacky for being named the 2018 RoboCup General Chair!
Our joint teen-size team with Amirkabir University of Technology was a huge success at RoboCup! We came in third in the world in the teen-size (<1.4m) soccer competition, losing our semi-final match to Team Parand from Iran, the new world champion. We also won second in this year's technical challenges (push recovery, i.e. a robot being able to remain on its feet after being pushed, goal kicks from a moving ball, high kicks, and high jumps), behind team NTUST Teen from NTUST, Taiwan. Working with larger size robots is a bigger challenge yet than our more usual kid-size work, and reaching the stage where we can place at RoboCup is a big reward. Many thanks to our partners at AUT, and the students and faculty from our lab that put work into this: Amirhossein Hosseinmemar, Chris Iverach-Brereton, Brittany Postnikoff, Dewin White, Jamillo Santos, Kiral Poon, John Anderson, and Jacky Baltes. Jacky, Jamillo, and Kiral made the trip to China so many thanks for all the hours put in while at RoboCup!
Our work with Jennifer, detailed in the previous post, has won first place in the 2015 DARwIn-OP Humanoid Application Challenge at ICRA-2015 in Seattle (ICRA is the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society's flagship conference ). Congratulations to everyone in the lab who has worked on this, and to Jacky Baltes, Chris Iverach-Brereton, and Brittany Postnikoff, who went to the conference to present this work!