Team Interview #7< | >

Team: b-it-bots

Country: Germany

Affiliation: BRSU

We recently spoke with Oscar Lima, student at Hochschule Bonn Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences about the upcoming RoCKIn2015 event. Here's what he had to say about their mission, vision and preparation for the final event!

Hello Oscar - thank you for joining us today. To start with, could you give us a bit of background information on your team, its aims and mission?

Hello! We are the b-it-bots team. We consist of roughly ten members which are students of the Autonomous Systems master's program. Our courses are offered in English and therefore welcome people from all over the world, that's why we have much diversity in our team, with members coming from Mexico, Pakistan, India, Canada, Egypt, just count a few. We aim to learn robotics and develop flexible and strong software components which can be reused in different platforms. Our mission: to contribute to the development of robotics for the future.

What appeals to you about RoCKIn and how does it complement your research and personal development goals? What about robot competitions more generally?

The RoCKIn competition is unique, it offers a more complex challenge than other competitions we have been to, while still being feasible. It challenges the flexibility of your components in an interesting and dynamic industrial environment. It complements our research by providing well-defined use case scenarios in which we can test our approach.

Have you been involved in robotic competitions before? If so, what were some of the highlights for you?

We have been involved in other competitions, such as Robocup German Open and Robocup International Competition. Our university has many robots available, therefore we have a constant supply of both students with experience and students searching for experience. For us, some of the highlights of the competitions include transportation tasks, object recognition, 'Peg in a Hole' (inserting an object into another object), navigation and barrier tape detection. Each task needs to be coordinated and solved in an efficient way by using some Artificial Intelligence techniques or finite state machines.

What role do you think competitions have in furthering innovation in robotics?

Competitions bring the best out of us - they push you toward your goals and create an atmosphere that's full of pressure, accelerating your development time and triggering your creativity. They play a very important role not only for the roboticists but also to general public by disseminating results through television, publications, and newspapers in a fun way; it also motivates the younger generation towards a careers in robotics.

How are your preparations for RoCKIn2015 going? What are you finding to be the most challenging areas?

Our preparations are tight as we want to include new features on our robot that allows us to show something interesting in the competition, but in a safe way. We believe the most challenging area is the drill test, particularly the placement of the fixable plate inside the drill press. This precise manipulation job requires a force control component that is currently under development. In a robot, many things have to go well in order to achieve a goal, therefore a lot of testing is crucial.

And finally, what do you think the future holds for industrial robotics?

We believe that in the future, industry will incorporate more robots of all kinds, not only on fixed environments but also autonomous robots that will be able to interact with humans - look at the Baxter robot for instance, which is taking manufacturing to the next level. We as humans are not designed to do repetitive tasks, we are curious and creative, we should develop automated solutions and during the development process, why not have a bit of fun by doing it!

Thanks for your time Oscar - we're looking forward to seeing you in Lisbon!