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RoCKIn2015: A glimpse into the future of Europe’s domestic and industrial robotics industry

June 27, 2015
RoCKIn at work (left) and at play. Source: RoCKIn
RoCKIn@home (left) and RoCKIn@work (right). Source: RoCKIn

Over the last 20 years, robot competitions have emerged as a powerful means to foster progress in robotics research and development (R&D). RoCKIn is part a of new generation of scientific robotics competitions that were launched out of the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme.

By combining the scientific rigor and repeatability of experiments with the real-world relevance and spectacle of competitive events, robot competitions are able to offer a highly complementary approach to traditional lab-based R&D. Through competition events and the development of a robust benchmarking methodology, RoCKIn aims to further innovation in the field of industrial and domestic robotics. From the 21-23 November, we will be holding our second and major competition event in Lisbon, Portugal.

Here, within purpose-built domestic and industrial arenas, teams from around the world will compete in tasks designed to be highly relevant to the real-world challenges, all in front of a live audience. For the teams, the event gives them an opportunity to network, share tips and tricks with their peers, learn from seasoned robotics experts, and gain key insights into the strengths and weaknesses of their robotic systems. There are two ‘Challenges’ or streams in which teams can compete in – RoCKIn@Home or RoCKIn@Work.

RoCKIn@Home

This Challenge focuses on assisting the elderly or impaired and is set within the apartment of Granny Annie – an elderly lady who needs some support to keep her healthy, active and safe. Robots are benchmarked on three tasks and three specific functionalities. The tasks include interacting appropriately with known and unknown visitors to the apartment, and helping Granny Annie with everyday actions such as opening and closing the window blinds. These require the robot to correctly understand a set of predefined and recognisable commands, work interactively with other devices (such as security cameras and remotely controllable lights and blinds) and navigate the arena without colliding into anything. The three specific functionalities being tested include how accurately the robots perceive objects.

RoCKIn@Work

This Challenge looks for innovative industrial robots that can help businesses meet increasing demand from their customers. Once again, robots will be benchmarked on three tasks and three functionalities. Set in the RoCKIn & RoLLIn factory, a robot will assist with the assembly of a drive axel – this a component of the robot itself and therefore a step towards self-replicating robots. Tasks include locating, transporting and assembling necessary parts, checking their quality and prepping them for other machines and workers. Ultimately, the robots will be working interactively as personal mobile assistants in a highly flexible and continuously changing production line.

In both Challenges, data is taken directly from the robots and compared with ground truth data captured from specialized infrared cameras set up around the arena that, through marker sets attached to the robots, can accurately determine their true movements within the arena. This data is used not only for evaluation purposes but also allows teams to get detailed feedback on their performance and isolates the areas they need to improve. It also aims to provide the international robotics community with rich datasets and metrics for task and functionality benchmarking.

RoCKIn2015 is open free-of-charge to the public, who will get to see the state-of-the-art robots autonomously perform these challenging tasks. The competition will be held in the ‘Portugal Pavilion’ and Lisbon’s premier science museum – ‘The Pavilion of Knowledge’. The Portugal Pavilion will host the RoCKIn@Home and RoCKIn@Work arenas, where the competition activities and demonstrations will take place. The opening and closing ceremonies, along with various satellite events throughout the three days, will be held in The Pavilion of Knowledge. Both are situated within Parque das Nações, in Lisbon.

The event is currently accepting applications and is open to new teams, as well as seasoned ‘RoCKIans’. Vistors, make sure you save the date and join RoCKIn for the final showdown in November to see what the future could have in store for all of us.

Key dates

Deadline for Applications: 31 August 2015

Decision on Qualified Teams: 8 September 2015

Registration open (qualified teams only): 9 – 30 September 2015

Website: http://rockinrobotchallenge.eu

RoCKIn Robotics Challenge is an EU project with a mission to act as a catalyst for smarter more dependable robots. .. read more


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