Robot grabs prize

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 1 June 2004




(2004), "Robot grabs prize", Industrial Robot, Vol. 31 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Robot grabs prize

Robot grabs prize

Keywords: Robots, Machine vision

A robot that can autonomously recognize an object and then pick it up from a table has won this year's annual prize for Progress towards Machine Intelligence. The robot built by a team from the University of Sunderland led by Cornelius Weber beat competition from four other universities to snatch the award, run by the British Computer Society and sponsored by Electrolux.

The winning robot, MIRA is fitted with cameras and sonar devices. During the competition, MIRA responded to a verbal command, moved independently towards a table, identified and grasped an orange. Then, keeping hold of the orange, it moved back to its original location and, on a second command, released the orange from its grip. The full MIRA team includes Cornelius Weber, Stefan Wermter, Alexandros Zochios and Chris Rowan.

Professor Max Bramer, who chairs the award panel and the British Computer Society's Specialist Artificial Intelligence Group explains, “MIRA represents a real step forward in robot technology and machine intelligence and provides a foundation for some very powerful future applications both in domestic and commercial robots.”

MIRA beat off strong competition from three other finalists.

  1. 1.

    A speech-enabled travel information system – designed by a team at Nottingham Trent University to comprehend and respond, over phone, to a wide range of questions from members of the public (full team: Baoli Zhao, Tony Allen, Andrzey Bargiela).

  2. 2.

    A qualitative spatial reasoning engine (SARQS) – which promises to translate a greater level of detail to databases that form applications from consumer route planning software to complex medical databases by Alia I. Abdelmoty from the University of Cardiff.

  3. 3.

    Chatbots – Eric Atwell from the University of Leeds presented his team's latest work, developing realistic language usage in online chatbots.

“Overall, the quality of this year's entrants was very good. All four finalists clearly demonstrated that machine intelligence is an area where much progress is being made in terms of abstract thinking and, excitingly, in terms of actual implementation,” concluded Bramer.

Entrants are invited to the 2004 Progress Towards Machine Intelligence prize.

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