We recently spoke with Grigoris Nikolaou, Lecturer at Piraeus 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 Grigoris - 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?
The ROSolution Team is a robotics team from Piraeus University of Applied Science and more specifically from the Department of Automation. It was established at the beginning of 2015 and now it counts five undergraduate students and me as their mentor. The team was formed aiming to inspire and give the incentive to undergraduate students to approach the solution of everyday problems using robotics.
What appeals to you about RoCKIn and how does it complement your research and personal development goals? What about robot competitions more generally?
My field of research is autonomous systems so the competition is a great opportunity for me to meet people from all over the world with the same interests. RoCKIn's aims for the promotion of robotics through collaboration and competition perfectly coincide with our team purposes so it became the obvious choice for the team's first international challenge.
Have you been involved in robotic competitions before? If so, what were some of the highlights for you?
The robotics team of our lab has taken part in Greek national competitions like I2Fest (Information Technology Festival), World Robot Olympiad Hellas and Athens Digital Week with great distinctions like Best Robot award on I2Fest and 1st and 2nd places on the others.
What role do you think competitions have in furthering innovation in robotics?
Competitions by their nature promote creativity, ingenuity and novelty. Competitions like RoCKIn provide a great opportunity to demonstrate the state of the art of academic theories and practices to the industry. On a second level they attract the attention of decision makers or even of the general public, increasing the awareness of the potential use of robotics in the real world, today. This awareness, invites intellectual as well as financial capital to robotic research.
How are your preparations for RoCKIn2015 going? What are you finding to be the most challenging areas?
The team works enthusiastically to get our robot ready for the competition. As our team consists solely of undergraduate students, the most challenging aspect of our preparation is to become competitive against teams that have members with deeper academic and research knowledge and are more experienced in robotic competitions than us.
And finally, what do you think the future holds for domestic service robotics?
Service robots are getting out of the factory floor in increasing numbers. Domestic service robots can help face emerging problems of modern society like the ageing of the population while the required technology is rapidly maturing. So in my opinion, from a technological perspective the future is very promising and there are great market opportunities. The approval and the adoption of domestic robots from the general public though, require the development of policies and legal frameworks that currently do not exist.
Thanks for your time Grigoris - we're looking forward to seeing you in Lisbon!