The aim of the Ecuadorian government is to change the production matrix that is based in the oil production. This new matrix has to be based on the creation of new resources that can be achieved through the development of science, research, innovation and culture in the country. Consequently, the government through the Ecuadorian Embassy in Germany is organizing the Third Forum for Ecuadorian Students living in Europe.
The goals of this forum are: a) promoting and stimulating the development of scientific research; b) creating knowledge networks in strategic areas for the country, which are education, arts, and humanities; economic and social sciences; mathematics, statistics, and natural sciences; informatics and communication technology; engineering, manufacturing, and construction; agriculture, forestry, fishing, and veterinary; and health and welfare, that allow changing the production model; c) rewarding the initiative and creativity of the Ecuadorian students through the presentation of research projects related to these areas.
To achieve these goals the students are going to discuss their projects with scientists that are working in similar research areas as them. This contributes to create knowledge networks between students and scientist. Additionally, at the same time, the contest for the recognition of scientific research is going to be held. It aims to promote the development of research initiatives that contributes to change the production model.
Consequently, this forums endeavors to consolidate efforts to change the production model of Ecuador.
King’s College London is a festival partner at the Cheltenham Science Festival. Located at The Times Area 42 tent, KCL’s booth features the DARWIN Project, an EU grant on teaching a humanoid robot to grasp objects and use tools.
Over the course of 3 days, the KCL team managed to talk to over 600 festival participants, with many more taking informational pamphlets. The Times tent provided free entry to members of the general public aged 14+ years old.
DARPA, the United States defense research agency known for their self-driving car grand challenge, recently launched a new challenge: the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). This time, the target is to create and control a humanoid robot to transverse and operate in an environment designed for humans. With recent events such as the Fukashima disaster, DARPA hopes to have robots capable of performing search, rescue, and repairing tasks in places too dangerous of human workers. The DRC competition involves a virtual controls track, with the top teams of this area to win a million dollar humanoid robot, the ATLAS robot by Boston Dynamics. The virtual controls track focuses on methods and algorithms to control a robots movements and decision making to navigate and manipulate its way through various situations. Considering humanoid robots have existed for decades, and natural walking and manipulation has barely been achieved, this is no easy task. Any organization capable of entry to the DRC competition gains international recognition for their innovative abilities.
As the only team from the UK to enter, King’s College London’s DRC team consisted of just several Msc students co-supervised by Ph.D students and academic staff. Through their hard efforts and dedication, the team overcame multiple obstacles such as having a small team and low resources. With just two computers just powerful enough to run the simulations and control schemes, the team spent hundreds of hours in the lab to put King’s College London in the spotlight. With over 100 competitors in the DRC competition, King’s College London is among the 20% to pass through the qualification round. KCL is now competing in league with top organizations, such as MIT and NASA JPL.
For more information about the team: https://thrish.org/projects/kings-drc-team
King’s College London eZine article
This year’s IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems was great! Not only did we have a lot of fun at Portugal, but we were able to make new connections and present our work.
A. Jiang, G. Xynogalas, P. Dasgupta, K. Althoefer, and T. Nanayakkara, “Design of a variable stiffness flexible manipulator with composite granular jamming and membrane coupling,” IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2012), Vilamoura, Portugal, 2012.
A. Jiang, J. Bimbo, S. Goulder, H. Liu, X. Song, and T. Nanayakkara, “Adaptive grip control on an uncertain object”, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2012), Vilamoura, Portugal, 2012.
F. Bianchi, G. Bartoli, K. Shoar, M. R. A. Fernandez, V. Pereno, J. Zirjakova, A. Jiang, and T. Nanayakkara, “Adaptive internal impedance control for stable walking on uncertain visco-elastic terrains,” IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2012), Vilamoura, Portugal, 2012.
Isuru S. Godage, Thrishantha Nanayakkara, and Darwin G. Caldwell,“Locomotion with Continuum Limbs”, in IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pp. 293 – 298, October 7-12, 2012 Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal. (See feature article on IEEE Spectrum here)