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Artificial Intelligence

The 20 Semifinalist Designs in the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics for Good Award

Sarah MarquartJanuary 18th 2016

The 2016 UAE AI & Robotics for Good Award semi-finalists have been announced.

The award is meant to support (and encourage) innovation in relation to artificial intelligence and robotics. Ultimately, it’s part of the UAE’s effort to create “a global platform for innovation.” The country hopes to highlight the practical side of this technology—a side that is relevant to society and contributes to things like health, education, or social service.

Here’s a breakdown of the Semi-finalists:

1) Team MITBRL from the United States has developed the HERMES robot, which can enter areas that are too dangerous for humans, offering an effective solution in disaster management. Peter Kim, from the team said:

“We have recently successfully developed and tested a robotic system includes a 3D multispectral imaging system that can detect and differentiate tissue types and organs; a novel system that allows robust 3D tracking of soft tissue targets immune to blood and tissue occlusions. A robotic manipulator with real-time control, capable of adapting to tissue deformations and movement is used to finely apply and tie sutures. These components make the system modular and well-suited to automate any phase of a soft tissue surgery. It has the ability to distinguish between tissue features, quantify and track 3D targets in a messy surgical environment, and intelligently plan and adapt while controlling surgical tools more precisely than a human surgeon.”

2) TechBridgeWorld team from the United States has come up with the Braille Tutor robot that allows users to learn how to write, practice writing, and be quizzed on letters, words, and numbers.

3) The Mars Lab team from Australia aims to promote participation rates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by primary and high school students by providing them with an immersive and realistic STEM-rich experience in the form of a robotic planetary exploration mission looking for evidence of extraterrestrial life.

UCB and SuitX. Image credit: Robotics for Good
UCB and SuitX. Image credit: Robotics for Good

4) UCB & SuitX team from the United States have devised Affordable Exoskeletons for Children with Neurological Disorders that quickly promotes walking skills among children. In this direction, SuitX and UC Berkeley intend  to  develop low  cost  consumer  products  for  rehabilitation  centers,  particularly  in developing countries.

5) Makeroni Labs team from Spain has come up with their Eye of Horus project which offers support for physically handicapped people with their tasks. The system combines eye tracking with a frontal camera to know where you are looking. The target devices are identified using light beacons, similar to LiFi technology, and controlled with wireless protocols.

“We want to integrate humans in the new era of Internet of Things and smart cities. We want control everything with a simple eye movement. We want to monitor the state of your eye in order to monitor your health,” said Luis Antonio Martin Nuez.

6) The Dytective team from the United States has developed an artificial intelligence system to detect dyslexia in individuals and help them overcome it by using scientifically validated computer games.

7) Andros Robotics team from the United States has come up with Robotic Leg Advancement Device (R-LAD), a battery-powered, computer controlled robotic system, which rides atop a small wheeled frame and serves as a medical walker for patients undergoing training to improve their ability to walk.

“The R-LAD is not an assistive device, but a therapeutic one; it is meant to be used by a physical therapist, to help them administer therapy to a patient in the clinical setting.  We envision that the R-LAD will be used with several patients every day, in therapy sessions which last between 30 minutes and one hour,” said Maciej Pietrusinski from the Andros Robotics team.

The safety of the patient and the therapist using the R-LAD is ensured in a number of ways.  The R-LAD rides atop a wheeled frame, which also supports the patient to make walking easier and to prevent falls. In addition, the drive mechanism is designed with mechanical travel stops.  Finally, the control system limits the forces generated, to ensure safety, Maciej said, adding that the biggest challenge in developing the R-LAD in the early phase was the unsteady and sporadic funding.

8) The Moley Robotic Kitchen, a fully integrated automated kitchen, designed for regular homes, that cooks with the skill and flair of a human chef.

9) The Carbon Robotics team from the United States has built KATIA, a low-cost robotic arm that has the capabilities of an industrial robot, but comes at the price of laptop. Besides, it is powered by the team’s open platform that lets software developers create new types of robotic applications.

10) The OSU Personal Robotics Group from the United States has come up with the idea to adopt techniques from mobile robotics, such as autonomous navigation, to develop a ‘Self-Driving Wheelchair for People with Severe Motor Disabilities’. The project aims to support full-time wheelchair users, especially those with severe motor disabilities.

OSU Personal Robotics Group. Image credit: Robotics for Good
OSU Personal Robotics Group. Image credit: Robotics for Good

Users will attach the package to their wheelchairs, plug it into the batteries and the chair control electronics. Then, using the system, they will be able to build maps of their homes and offices to navigate around these spaces autonomously. The wheelchair user will be able to use a variety of input devices to specify where they go, depending on their particular physical needs: on-screen map, eye-gaze into the world, voice commands, etc. The wheelchair will then take care of the rest.

“People who use eye-gaze to communicate can only do one thing at a time, and controlling their chairs means that they have to stop doing everything else every time they move their chairs.  By giving the wheelchairs self-driving capabilities, we allow them to move about the world while doing other things: working, talking to people, and so on,” said William Smart from the OSU Personal Robotics Group.

National Competition – Semi-finalists

1) The Smart Guidance System for the Blind, a project from the UAE, offers to independently assist the blind in avoiding obstacles, identifying places or objects and navigating from one place to another. It can detect obstacles in the blind’s direction within a distance of up to five meters with a variable frequency (1 to 4 Hz), and gently guide the blind around the obstacles using a combination of 5 vibrators.

2) The Healthy Robotics team from the UAE has developed a novel compact robotic manipulator that has the ability to accurately and conveniently manipulate and to firmly “lock” in place special purpose surgical tools necessary for minimally invasive therapy.

3) The CoiCAM team from the UAE has offered the Spherical Capsule for Endoscopic Applications which has the ability to overcome the limitations of the current endoscopic capsules, providing a better, safer, and a more comfortable method of endoscopy while having a full visualizing field and controllable motion.

4) The CVD Helper, which comes to the aid of people with color vision deficiency. “The solution we are making is a device that is hand worn in a form of a bracelet. By a gentle touch of an object, the device will identify the colour and name it out loud. It is also voice controlled and can be used privately by wearing a wireless headset,” said Judy Matar of CVD Helper team.

B Motion Team. Image Credit: Robotics for Good
B Motion Team. Image Credit: Robotics for Good

5) The B Motion team from the UAE has developed a Brain Controlled Electric Wheelchair, that employs non-invasive brain-computer interface based on electroencephalography (EEG) to detect user’s thoughts, feelings, and expressions and accordingly issue appropriate commands to the electric wheelchair motor controller.

The chair is primarily targeted at Quadriplegia patients, amputees and patients with spinal cord injuries, who cannot control a conventional wheelchair joystick but have a completely conscious and functioning brain.

Highlighting the safety aspects, Omar Mohammadi from B Motion said the system includes an artificial intelligence obstacle avoidance system armed with a camera and real time analysis processing unit. This system allows the wheelchair to automatically avoid collisions with obstacles that might appear suddenly.

6) The RE-ACT ROBOT team from the UAE has created a haptic robotic system that is capable of aiding patients with neural diseases such as strokes to regain their motor control function. According to the team, the system is cost-effective and easy to use, and can be deployed at home. Besides, it utilizes many off the shelf components to achieve its task and can easily be customized to suit the patient.

7) The Intelligent Wells team from the UAE has come up with an intelligent bore well system that ensures supply of drinking water in rural areas. Called the WaterLoop, the system constantly monitors the quality and level of water and gathers real-time information that could be valuable for both water planning and direct water consumption.

“WaterLoop can sense a problem in the water and inform the authorities responsible for fixing it. This means that the number trips to check the well condition will be reduced and the investors will have direct access to the condition of the well. As a result, responding to broken wells will become faster and more efficient. The device will also be able to receive phone calls from people in rural areas to inform people if there is a blockage or contamination,” said Reem Al Junaibi from the Intelligent Wells team.

Highlighting the cost efficiency of the project, Reem said a single device installed on a well is expected to cost under US$ 300, adding that this constitutes an additional 3.4 per cent to the overall cost of building a well. “The UAE has taken a bold step towards realizing the potential of AI and Robotics from applications in developed nations to developing nations. Such technologies will play a vital role in solving some of the world’s most pressing issues such as climate change and access to clean water,” Reem added.

Mozo. Image Credit: Robotics for Good
Mozo. Image Credit: Robotics for Good

8) Mozo team from the UAE has developed a learning robot specially designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Social Deficits and Communication Difficulties symptoms. Made in the form of a one-meter high soft teddy bear called Mozo, the attractive shape of the robot is highly effective on breaking barriers in order to motivate autistic children who have difficulty, shyness or discomfort in interacting with others or practicing social skills with strange people.

9) The Skills Acquisition team from the UAE has come up with a project that aims to enhance skill acquisition process for athletes, particularly decreasing the time of motor skill learning by introducing a bio-based teaching signal abstracted from professional athletes.

At this stage of the project, its teaching signals are muscles activations patterns abstracted from a professional athlete using Electromyography (EMG). These signals are collected and processed in a workstation and then projected on the muscles of the trainee through specific network of muscles stimulators.

Aimed at athletes, coaches, clubs, health authorities and private rehabilitation centres, the project in its in prototype phase has cost the team about US$ 5000-7,000.

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