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NIST contests in China put next-gen robot technologies to the test
Date:6/8/2011

Robotic automation, microrobotics and robotic perception and recognition all advanced a few steps closer to their future applications in manufacturing, health care and other areas during the week of May 9-13, 2011.

That's when the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) hosted three of the four robotics competitions at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Shanghai, China. The trio of contests are designed to prove the viability of advanced robotics and microrobotics technologies.

In the first of two Virtual Manufacturing Automation Competition (VMAC) matches, contestants used open-source evaluation tools to judge a computer plan of a robot picking up boxes of various sizes and weights from a conveyor belt and arranging them on a pallet for shipping. The second half of the VMAC used off-the-shelf computer gaming engines to create simulations that "virtually road tested" a robot team's ability to load trucks with pallets delivered from a warehouse.

Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pa.) won the mixed palletizing contest and Hood College (Frederick, Md.) won the truck loading contest. Other teams competing in the VMAC were from Georgia Tech (Atlanta, Ga.) and the University of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia). Georgia Tech was the co-organizer of the VMAC.

In the Mobile Microrobotics Challenge (MMC), seven teams from Canada, Europe and the United States pitted their miniature athleteswhose dimensions are measured in micrometers (millionths of a meter)against each other in two events. The mobility challenge required the microbots to navigate a two-dimensional maze about the size of a sesame seed. In the microassembly challenge, the competitors had to put together multiple microscale components in a narrow channel to simulate two applications: operation within a blood vessel by future medical microbots and assembly-based micromanufacturing.

The French Teama group consisting of rese
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Contact: Michael E. Newman
michael.newman@nist.gov
301-975-3025
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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