Penn students compete to put robot research to real-world use
February 5, 2013By NewsWorks Staff
Photos by Emma Lee, for NewsWorks
Maybe these aren't the droids you're looking for, but what these robots lack in Star Wars panache, they make up for in real-world utility.
Four teams of University of Pennsylvania students demonstrated that utility Monday afternoon in the final round of Penn's Y Prize Competition. These and other teams proposed applications for robotic technologies developed at Penn's General Robotics Automation Sensing and Perception laboratory.
The three-person team Identified (emphasis on the IED — for "improvised explosive devices") was the winner, which presented a plan to use flying quadrotor robots to detect hidden IEDs with ground-penetrating radar. The team comprised two students from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Kelsey Duncombe-Smith and Richard Zhang, and Wharton Ph.D. student Andy Wu. The team will receive a $5,000 prize and non-exclusive rights to commercialize the Penn-owned technology that their proposal is based upon.
The other finalist teams each presented a robotic prototype for such real-world applications as security patrol, building construction inspection, and the injection and vital sign monitoring of livestock.