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Athens Digital Week 2010 - robotics
by IKE 09-Oct-2010 16:27
The city of Athens organize for some years now a technology fair called Athens Digital Week. This post is about the Robotics section, which was by far the most popular section of the exhibition (at least when we were there). You can read below a small report from the exhibition.---
The most impressive entry was the robot soccer teams that use the very advanced and cute Neo robot made from the French company http://www.aldebaran-robotics.com/en. We spoke to a researcher of one of the teams, from
Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering of Crete's Technical University. They use completely stock Neo humanoid robots but they write most of the software and movement algorithms themselves. They use some available libraries but there is a lot room from improvement and every team want to extract the most from the small robot's abilities. The games are quite tough and there is quite a lot of damage in every robot, after every game some robots need repairs or replacement parts but even so the team can operate with casualties even with lower performance. The game takes place in a bright green cloth floor and the robots follow a bright red ball.
The NTUA Control Systems Laboratory had some very advanced robots, especially a very elaborate helicopter UAV (above left) and a UUV based on a Seabotix commercial robot. The researchers were very keen to explain their work.
The heli uses a PC/104 with a real time kernel Debian Linux distribution. It has a MTi-G IMU from Xsens and also commercial sensors like a Futaba gyro (additional to the IMU) a 10Hz GPS sensor etc. It uses a Kalman filter code for stabilization, which operates from the IMU and GPS data. The GPS is essential in this system in order to compensate for gyro drift and the inaccuracies of the IMU. It has two units, one on the aircraft and another on the ground. The second one is used in order to have a stable reference point and continuously calibrate the one on the aircraft.
The parts are quite expensive and many of them are milspec. The total cost of the Helicopter as a system is around ~30.000 euros approximately. In its current state it is under development. The lab aims to operate multiple UAVs in coordination and at some point perform missions with on board cameras and other sensors.
There was a new Parrot AR.Drone hovering in the expo. It looks much bigger up close and it is amazingly stable at holding position when hovering. Its cost is 300 euros and it is available in Greece from futurehouse.gr along with some other famous robots, like Rovio (which in contrary looks extremely small up close!), also in quite good prices.
There was many robots from the Automation faculty of Technological Education Institute of Piraeus, like this quadcopter which is largely made from the student himself. It is under development and uses various sensors and a Segway sourced gyro.
The greek robotics website grobot.gr displayed a very big variety of robots and projects from its members. Among others there was a quadcopter that uses the Ardupilot mega and ArduIMU-oilpan shield (above left). There was a very well made robotic fish, the NEREUS 881 K.R.S (biomemetic robotic fish).
Another gret project was the GRoboduino a clone on the Arduino platform with some useful embedded features.
The ADW expo closes tomorrow, this is just a glimpse and if you go you may discover other interesting projects. The expo itself it is an excellent initiative and the place (Technopolis) is perfect. Let's hope next year it would be even better.
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