Posts Tagged ‘IEEE Robotics and Automation Society’

IEEE society forms humanitarian group focusing on robotics

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

robotThe IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) has become the first IEEE society to establish a Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT), a program that aims to promote the mission of IEEE regarding humanitarian technology activities.

RAS-SIGHT’s mission is to contribute sustainable robotics and automation techniques to improve the quality of life in underserved and underdeveloped parts of the world. The group educates students about robotics through competitions and by collaborating with organizations like Engineers Without Borders-USA on projects. It is also identifying areas where robots can search for survivors in disasters, clear land mines, and monitor endangered species.

In a recent project held in conjunction with the African Robotics Network, RAS-SIGHT sponsored a robot design challenge for high schoolers in Africa, with an aim to get students interested in robotics while demonstrating how robotics can help boost education in the continent. The students were given the task to build affordable robots with just $10 to buy parts.

Read more about SIGHT, and how to get involved, in The Institute.

IEEE Robotics and Automation Society hosts student event at IROS 2012

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society continues its missions to get students interested in the growing field of robotics through its pre-college student event at the recent IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems 2012 (IROS) in Vilamoura, Portugal from 7 to 12 October 2012. The local organizer, The Institute of Systems and Robotics of University of Coimbra, invited students from schools of the Algarve region to visit the conference on 9 October.

There was tremendous response as 40 pre-college students from nearby schools, accompanied by teachers, accepted the invitation. The program, partially supported by the Portuguese Agency for the Scientific and Technological Culture, started with a plenary session on surgical robotics by Professor Paulo Dario from the University of Pisa, Italy, and “European Robotics Research: Achievements and Challenges” by Dr. Libor Kral. The students attended robot navigation competitions and toured the exhibitors’ areas before witnessing a seminar by Paulo Menezes entitled “Robots and How to Become a Robot Creator.”

The event follows a similar pre-college program the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society held at the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in May, which you can read about here. Both events have served as excellent forums to inspire young students to consider pursuing both engineering and, particularly, robotics, as a possible career choice.

A Women in Engineering Luncheon sponsored by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society was also held at IROS 2012. Over 60 guests joined RAS leaders to enjoy lunch while listening to helpful insight from speaker Nancy Amato.

IEEE Robotics and Automation Society hosts Teen Robotics Program at ICRA

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE RAS) sponsored its second Teen Robotics Program at the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). The program — designed to give high school students insight into the exciting challenges and opportunities in the field of robotics — took place on 17 May 2012 in Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA (the ‘Twin Cities’). IEEE RAS contacted local public schools, the FIRST Robotics Organization, the Explorer Scouts, and the IEEE Twin Cities Section to recruit motivated high school juniors and seniors to attend. Even though mid-May is a busy time for teenagers with proms, exams, and graduation, IEEE RAS managed to recruit a dozen teenagers and one teacher to participate in the six-hour program.

Students watch a demonstration of the winning Robot Challenge team, a hockey-playing robot.

(Video: Check out some awesome robots in action at ICRA 2012!)

The teenagers learned much about the exciting field of robotics during their visit. After Professor Wesley Snyder of North Carolina State University gave an overview on robotics, the students watched a TED Talk video featuring Professor Vijay Kumar of the University of Pennsylvania and his flying robots. About five minutes into the video — much to the students’ surprise–, Professor Kumar strolled into the room and finished the talk in person. Next, ICRA General Chair Nikos Papanikolopoulos of the University of Minnesota spoke to the students about the robotics programs underway in their home state of Minnesota.

Afterwards it was time for the students to see some real robots in action. The students met Dr. Steve Cousins, CEO of ICRA Robot Challenge sponsor Willow Garage, a company that develops hardware and open source software for personal robotic applications. The company provided several of its sophisticated, commercially available PR2 robots (only U.S.$400,000 each!) for the ICRA Robot Challenge that took place the day before. Dr. Cousins presented a demonstration called “Yesterday’s Sushi,” which featured robots as they cleared and reset a full-sized table and served sushi dishes in a mock sushi restaurant. The demonstration was a reenactment of the Mobile Manipulation Challenge, also known as “The Sushi Boat Challenge,” one of six challenges that had taken place during the challenge competition. The students spoke with one of the challenge teams — a group of graduate students from the University of Michigan — and saw the team’s robots before visiting the main exhibition. They also met with representatives from many of the 30 companies and organizations that attended, including DARPA, NASA, iRobot, ABB, KUKA, and Barrett Technologies. The students not only witnessed robots in action, but also got to operate them.

The ICRA Twin Cities Teen Robotics Event was originally scheduled to end at noon, but several of the students accepted an invitation to attend the ICRA plenary talk on the Development Outline of the Humanoid Robot: HUBO II by Professor Jun Ho Oh of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Korea. The students were impressed with the cool robots as well as the enthusiasm of the academic and industry professionals they met, all of whom were more than willing to answer their questions.

(Videos: View the full list of TechTalks from ICRA 2012.)

The ICRA Twin Cities Teen Robotics Event was the second youth event sponsored by IEEE RAS. The first was held in San Francisco, California, USA in September 2011 at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.