University of Manitoba Computer Science team wins international robotics competition

U of M team wins international robotics competitionJUNE 1, 2015 — The U of M’s Autonomous Agents lab won the 2015 ICRA DARWIN-OP Humanoid Application Challenge, one of the five robot challenges at the IEEE ICRA conference, one of the world’s premiere conferences in robotics. The conference was held May 26-30, 2015 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington, USA.The U of M team won the challenge for developing the worlds first “cross country and downhill skiing robot.” Work, which they revealed earlier this year on YouTube, which received a significant amount of media attention.The robot named after Canadian three-time Olympic gold medal hockey player Jennifer Botterill won the DARWIN-OP award, previously in 2012 for her ice hockey playing abilities.The competition required a video submission demonstrating the work, and also a live demonstration and presentation at the conference. The work was presented by Dr. Jacky Baltes of the department of computer science, graduate student Chris Iverach-Brereton, and undergraduate student Brittany Postnikoff”“We are very proud of their achievement and excited, the award comes with more than $14,000 worth of robotics equipment which we can’t wait to use to further our research,” said Dr. John Anderson, Professor and Head of the department of computer science.The AA lab hopes that the technology developed through sports-playing robots will one day lead to mechanized firefighters or rescue bots capable of dealing with the breadth of humanoid motion, walking, skating, skiing.While some may find the little two-foot robot simply entertaining to watch, the novelty the robot is her ability to maneuver herself by turning her ankles inwards or outwards to steer, her ability to gain traction, and balance herself in real-time on unstable ground. Read more here

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