Brussels, 14 Apr 2005
A robot that can play table football as well as an advanced human player is one of the winners of the second 'Technology Transfer Award' for outstanding achievements in European robotics.
The award is organised by the EURON Network of Excellence, funded under the information society technologies (IST) section of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), as well as the European industry association EUnited Robotics.
The 'Star Kick' table football robot was developed by Thilo Weigel at the Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany. It uses a camera to perceive the playing surface, and depending on the situation of the same it will decide how to use the player rods under its control.
The Star Kick robot offers researchers insights into sensor interpretation, control, autonomous systems, planning and machine learning. The long term goal behind the project is to develop methods that can also be applied in other areas, such as service robots, but its creators point out that it could also become an attractive pastime as an intelligent opponent, or training partner for professional players.
Star Kick shared first prize with another innovation, 'Autofett', an automated system for the fettling and finishing of medium and heavy casings used in the automotive, aerospace and chemical industries. According to its designers Klas Nilsson and Anders Robertsson from Lund University in Sweden, with Autofett, robots can react instantly and with great precision to correct any defect in a piece of work in serial production, relieving humans of the difficult and dangerous task.
The objective of the EURON Network of Excellence is to coordinate research, teaching and education, academic-industry collaboration, and publications and conferences in the area of robotics throughout Europe. The Technology Transfer Award was created in 2003 in order to improve the quality of robotics research and to raise the profile of technology transfer between science and industry.
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