Giatronica 2013 IEEE Robotics competition
Open category in CCSBOTS 2013

In the year 2013 the Simón Bolívar University was selected as the hosting university for the national robotics competition CCSBOTS 2013. At that time I was working as full professor of the Electronics and Circuits Department and member of the Mechatronics group and was approached by our group leader (Prof. Gerardo Fernández). He wanted us to participate in the competition and cooperate with the GIA (Artificial intelligence group) as joint effort for winning the competition. A team was formed with the help of several professors (Carolina Chang, Maria Eugenia Cabrera, Angel Terrones and myself) and a group of highly motivated students was carefully selected, the Giatronica team. 
The goal was to win the open category, the task was to design a robot for cleaning a beach. A set of cans will be placed on sand and the robot has to explore the environment look for the cans, pick them up and finally place them in a designated container. The Giatronica team was subdivided in two separate groups, the first one designed the AI necessary to detect the cans with a camera and the second one was in charge of designing and building the electromechanical parts of the robot including the controllers.



 As can be seen in the previous video where we test its obstacle avoidance capabilities, the robot was designed as a wheeled robot with a robotic arm gripper in the front and a container in the back, the idea was to gather several cans and then bring all of them to the final container. The camera was placed just in the front of the robot looking down to detect the cans. As a final evaluation, the design was perhaps a little bit overly-engineered and the constructions of the pieces lacked precision, the AI was not able to detect if there was a failure when grabbing a can and it didn’t have any mechanisms to align the robot properly after a failure.


The Giatronica robot managed to pick one can during the competition and this feat made us won the competition. Even with some performance problems the robot was a success since it demonstrated that a collaboration between different university groups can produce excellent results and on top of that everyone involved in the project had a great time!

Some photos of the competition