Can you compete in robotics?2023-09-26
The answer is yes. The university engineer student Carl Törnberg was part of a team that won a second prize during his internship in Japan at Ritsumeikan University.
- I have been interning at Ritsumeikan University in Japan since the beginning of 2023, and this summer, it was time for a robotics competition with the team I am part of here, says Carl Törnberg, a student in the electrical engineering program.
- This is part of our collaboration with Ritsumeikan University and Goodtech Solutions AB and is funded by the International Collaborative Research Promotion Program, says Jorge Solis, Associate Professor in electrical engineering and course coordinator for the electrical engineering internship.
The purpose of this internship was to investigate key features required for visualizing the current and future behavior of robots in real-time using AR/MR (Augmented-/Mixed Reality) to be able to see what the robot will do and convey the robot's plans, movements, and status to the human operator. Part of Carl's internship was participating in the international competition called the Future Convenient Store Challenge (FCSC) organized by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), and sponsored by Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd, the owner of 7-Eleven and other stores. The competition is about developing the next generation of stores.
The competition has three different categories, and Carl and his team, NaRiPa (Team NAIST-RITS-Panasonic), managed to secure second place in the "Stock and Disposal task" category. The challenge involves navigating a robot in a new environment to remove and place items on store shelves. Points are awarded based on how well different tasks are completed, such as removing old items, placing new ones, and correctly positioning misplaced items. One task also focuses on human safety when a person wants to retrieve an item from an area where a robot is working.
Why compete in robotics?
- A competition is a good way to measure how good your solution is, says Carl Törnberg. During the competition, we also networked with the other teams. It was very interesting and inspiring. The goal of the competition is to contribute to the development of good ideas and see which solutions work. Essentially, it's about bringing together different universities to challenge our latest ideas, but, of course, a competition is still a competition.
After completing his internship, Carl will start his master's program in Information Science and Engineering at Ritsumeikan University. His master's program will focus on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) with a focus on communication and visualization using AR/MR technology, under the co-supervision of Gustavo Garcia and Lotfi El Hafi, both Associate Professors at Ritsumeikan University and senior NaRiPa members.
The NaRiPa team is partially funded through the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) Moonshot Research & Development Program the JST a research project called Moonshot, with Tadahiro Taniguchi, a Professor at Ritsumeikan University, as the project leader.
- Our international collaboration is now in a very interesting developmental phase, says Jorge Solis. During the summer of 2023, Ritsumeikan University, as the project lead, submitted an application to the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). The call is named 'Adopting Sustainable Partnerships for Innovative Research Ecosystem (ASPIRE),' and Karlstad University and the University of Southern Denmark are partners in the project application.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR). Neither the European Union nor UHR can be held responsible for them.