The nuclear reactor meltdown the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant in March 2011 is considered to be the greatest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. It is estimated that if the cooling system could have been turned back on within a few hours of the initial failure, then the catastrophe could have been greatly minimized. Now, imagine if a human could have entered the facility after the disaster and performed the required task. This wasn’t an option because any human would be harmed by the high level of radiation before even getting near the Power Plant. So, what if we could send a human-like machine immune to radiation and able to perform activities similar to a human? This intuitive idea is the core concept of HERMES (Highly Efficient Robotic Mechanisms and Electromechanical System) at the Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory at MIT.
State-of-art legged robots are intended to do human-like tasks. However, no such robots have been able to negotiate the debris and obstacles of the radioactive environment inside Fukushima with comparable performance to humans.
Taking the initiative to bring robots to the next level, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) created the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), in which robot participants had to navigate a simulated disaster environment and perform human-like tasks, such as driving a vehicle, opening doors, and turning valves. These tasks that can be easily carried out by ordinary humans but are still a great challenge to be reliably implemented on machines.
In June 2015, the public saw the result of DARPA’s sizable investment towards the goal of leveraging robotic technology during the Robotics Challenge finals. The greatest authorities in the robotics field invested a great deal of time, money and brainpower during the three years in order to participate and win the competition. Although the robots demonstrated incredible motor abilities and autonomous reasoning like never seen before, the competing machines could still not outperform ordinary humans in conducting the required tasks.
We anticipate that HERMES can be used in a wide variety of applications in real world scenarios. Ranging from firefighting and search & rescue tasks to space exploration, a ready-to-deploy version the HERMES robot can replace a person in any situation that a human responder may face danger in the line of duty. By using a full-body teleoperation strategy, HERMES can be remotely controlled by an expert and carry all the responder expertise and motor abilities to the disaster scenario without actually putting a human life in risk.
For the past two years, we have been working on the first version of the HERMES System, including the Human Machine Interface (Balance Feedback Interface and Motion Capture Suit) and the humanoid robot itself. All the hardware and software is developed and tested in the lab so the team can easily modify and improve the machine in the hardware and software level.
In sport, a person’s muscle pattern is tuned faster with training. A certain ‘muscle memory’ develops in response to the required task. We have developed an idea that allows us to motivate a person’s muscles to reach the desired muscles reaction. Our solution is delivered through robot-like muscle vibrators – a completely autonomous system – with net-vibrators to reach the final goal, to give the muscles direct stimulation.
Athlete training is a vital component of a successful sports career. Athletes spend long periods of time trying to perfect the right posture, strength and muscle application for performing and perfecting simple actions.
However, not all athletes get the right required performance and skills. Intensive training and wrong muscle use may lead to injuries, muscle fatigue and prevent them from learning the skills needed. What if there was another way to train your muscles?
Is it possible to change how the brain controls and uses one’s muscles? Can we train a person in less time with less risk of injuries?
Through neuro-feedback from the brain and Electromyography (EMG) signals, we can see that a person’s muscle patterns can be changed and trained to perform better through direct instructions to the relevant muscle groups.
Our project utilises AI and advanced robotic technology for enhancing our skills acquisition capability.
Advanced technology now allows us to get a closer look to the brain and its neural connections with the muscles to reveal some hidden secrets. It is clear that different people use different muscle patterns in performing a task. It is also clear that professional people with higher skill levels have a better way in using their muscles.
We noticed that giving a subject direct instruction to perform a task leads the subject to focus on particular muscles and activate them. This results in increasing muscle activity pattern or a change in muscle pattern depending on the instruction given. Our experimentation has shown that when giving the subject direct stimulated instructions results in greater improvement than when giving instructions by voice only.
The EMG electrodes read the muscle activity of the task performed. Recording and reading the muscle activity provides a scale of the signals to check how active each muscle is. The next step is studying the differences between the targeted muscle to approach and the muscles that should be trained.
To help in build a good, fully-trained muscle the robot-like vibrators are used to control and enhance the muscle activity by training over a short period of time. Vibrators help motivate a specific muscle to activate at the required time. Although, our prototype has been targeted to skill acquisition, we believe a wider application of such approach is possible in the field of rehabilitation.
Each year, over 232 million surgical procedures are performed around the world. Unfortunately, a significant number of patients experience complications, with reported complication rates as high as 30%. Furthermore, recent advances such as laparoscopic and robot-assisted surgery (RAS) have not changed complication rates.
A critical contributor to this unmet challenge is the human factor. Surgeon experience, training, clinical volume, dexterity, vision and cognition all contribute to the human error. Although laparoscopic and RAS are increasingly adopted because of their less invasive approach, these minimally invasive technologies completely rely on individual surgeon capacity and capability, create additional disparity in accessibility to the best practices and variation in outcomes.
We propose to address this unmet challenge by changing the current master-slave paradigm in laparoscopic and RAS, where the surgeon directly performs every aspect of surgery, to a semi-autonomous or autonomous robot-assisted surgery. This shift creates value via:
- Enhanced safety
- Access to the best techniques anywhere in the world;
- Improved clinical outcomes
- Significant economic benefits.
Surgery is late to the era of automation, which has clearly improved safety, quality and outcomes in the automobile, aviation and manufacturing industries. Beyond an initial demonstration of proof-of-feasibility, the deliverables in this proposal promise a new era where the best and safest techniques and technology are available to everyone in the world. We will begin with a simple surgical procedure and progress to the most complex ones. The goal is not to replace surgeons but to enhance their human capacity and capability through this new paradigm of collaborative autonomy between humans (initially surgeons but potentially untrained humans) and robots.
We have recently successfully developed and tested a robotic system for autonomous intestinal anastomosis in a preclinical porcine model. We selected this challenge because over a million such suturing and anastomosis tasks involving intestine and urologic tissues are performed in the U.S. alone each year during the third, reconstructive phase of surgery; along with the second phase of surgery, removing the pathology of interest, it is the critical element for a successful outcome; and the complication rates for anastomosis continue to be significant despite recent advances in surgical technologies. Surprisingly, our supervised autonomous surgery was not only feasible but had better outcomes than current clinical standards performed by expert surgeons.
Intelligent Wells aims to re-think the way we design, build and maintain wells through artificial intelligence. If a well has the ability to sense, talk and think, it will give us real-time updates of the current condition of the water. An Intelligent Well will inform the users of the level of water and help ensure efficient use of the water in critical low water conditions.
Over 30% of the world’s freshwater is underneath the ground. This huge source of water is still not fully accessible by the people in need. As of today, over 783 million people don’t have access to clean water. The world has realised this issue and responded to this crisis. A growing number of water initiatives have evolved in the past decade and many organisations have put the effort to build wells. However, many of these wells are in disrepair.
Inconsistent checking of wells due to high labour costs, unavailability of adequate human capital and delays in laboratory tests have left the people in need of water still suffering.
It is essential to constantly monitor the quality of water and because the cost to do that is so high, a new version of wells will be able to eliminate the long process of hiring a well technician to go to the site. The information of the quality of water will be directly accessible through a system, which constantly monitors the well’s water pressure, bacteria and other dangerous materials, which could be found in the water.
Currently, NGOs face difficulties reaching the most remote areas to build wells. The drilling machinery is not only expensive but can only operate in places it can reach. By recreating a new drilling process that can reach even farther places and dig to deeper grounds, I believe my main objective of delivering clean water to all people, in all areas, all the time will be achieved.
Our spherical capsule will provide a better, safer, painless solution for endoscopy when treating colorectal cancer. This is because the spherical capsule is coated with a safe non-toxic material and extremely smooth surface to avoid irritations. The capsule also uses a non-toxic battery and an antenna with a suitable bandwidth for medical purposes.
The capsule overall consists of a Payload System, a Telemetry System, and a Vehicle Orientation System. The analysis of the images usually takes a long time for the medical doctors to reach a precise diagnosis. An external auto-analysis system of the image stream would excessively decrease the time needed for the examiner to make therapeutic decisions. In the future, it will be possible to have an automatic analytical software program to diagnose the patient’s condition without the presence of the medical doctor.
Mozo is a learning robot specially designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that have Social Deficits and Communication Difficulties symptoms.
It is an affordable robot-assisted therapy tool that can be used by autism therapists, educators and parents. It is controlled through a simple user-friendly mobile application. The mobile application teaches social and communication interactions and provides users with teaching skills that are of effective for children with ASD.
According to International Statistical Institute, a child is born with autism every twenty minutes. In 2014, the National Bureau of Statistics declared that two percent of UAE newborns are diagnosed with autism.
One of the major difficulties autistic children face is social deficits. They may avoid eye contact, social interactions and resist or passively accept attention especially when frustrated or presented with a new situation or environment. They also suffer from communication difficulties. Some children may have good basic language skills, but have difficulty initiating or sustaining conversations. Some may use language in unusual ways, such as repeating a phrase, or parroting what they hear (also named as Echolalia).
Moza a soft fluffy teddy bear one-metre height. The teddy bear shape and bright color of the robot are to attract children’s attention. This attractive shape is highly effective in breaking barriers as a motivation for autistic children who have difficulty, shyness or discomfort interacting or practicing social skills with strange people. The size is so that it can be easily hugged by children. Through the mobile application, the user can make the robot hug the child or react to a child’s hug, as the robot has joints in its arms.
Under observation from a group of autism experts from the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs (ZHO), Mozo’s features were designed and implemented to have a positive impact on autistic children. The application can be customised to provide therapy lessons and create profiles for every child with their own tailored therapy plan.
2016 Competition is closed. Semi-finalists have been announced! Finals on February 5/6th.
The UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good aims to encourage research and applications of innovative solutions in artificial intelligence and robotics to meet existing challenges in the categories of health, education and social services.
Mobile robots have faced a challenge. Working outside of controlled environments, such as factories or warehouses, getting around can be tricky for a robot. Most commercially available kit either runs on fixed rails or comes equipped with combinations of wheels or tracks.
While there have been some very clever applications and adaptations allowing devices to get about pretty well, rough terrain and other difficult environments have remained pretty much out of bounds. What they really needed was legs.
The robotics team at the Italian Institute of Technology are the latest group to tackle the challenges of building a walking robot with the requisite level of robustness and appear to have had more success than some predecessors.
The HyQ2Max is a four-legged mechanical beast that has an animal like posture. It’s built tough too, so should be able to work in environments where falling objects could be a risk. Delicate parts such as sensors are protected by the structure of the body.
“Much like a cat or a goat that is very agile on rough terrain, this robot can in the future help in very unstructured environments, for example after an earthquake, after a tsunami or after a house has collapsed for other reasons,” said Claudio Semini, who is leading the research, speaking to Reuters.
Crucially, if the robot is knocked over, it can get back up on its feet, an ability which could significantly boost its potential for applications outside the research lab. Next on the research team’s wish list is a pair of arms, which will add the ability to manipulate objects to the robot’s skill set.
- Award supports UAE policy to support science, technology and innovation to build knowledge based economy
- Participating projects offer innovative services in education, health and social services using robotics and artificial intelligence
- Health category leads with 34.84% of entries, followed by education with 15.48%
- UAE, US, Spain, UK, Italy, India, Australia, Russia and Canada constitute top countries with maximum number of entries
- Huge participation from international universities such as MIT, Stanford, The University of Sydney, Carnegie Mellon University, Berkeley University, UAE University and Khalifa University
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation, said the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is focused on strengthening the position of the UAE in promising sectors through innovative initiatives, and described His Highness Sheikh Mohammed as a school that converts small ideas into big global initiatives.
“The UAE leadership aims to promote the economic model of the UAE, relying on minds and innovations rather than resources, through the launch of Higher Policy for Science, Technology and Innovation. We have to work hard in the coming period to strengthen the position of the UAE in promising technology sectors by attracting the best researchers and innovators as well as building strategic partnerships to develop our national talents,” His Highness Sheikh Hamdan said, adding that the UAE aims to enter the competitive race in these areas soon to make use of global leadership opportunities.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan said that the first edition of the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good has become a global platform of innovative ideas in this advanced field, which has been highlighted in global studies as an area of strategic importance for economies in view of its role in developing services in various sectors.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan stated this as the Organizing Committee of the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good announced the closing of the nomination period for the first edition of the event, which received 664 entries from 121 countries around the world.
His Excellency Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Managing Director of the Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation and Chairperson of the Organising Committee of the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good, said that the UAE is keen to adopt the latest advanced technologies to serve various segments of the society in all aspects that affect human lives.
HE Al Gergawi said: “The UAE government launched the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good during the Government Summit last February to achieve the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to enhance the status of the UAE as a global leader in the field of science and technology by adopting the culture of innovation and taking advantage of available technologies to improve human life in several key areas.”
HE Al Gergawi added that this award is a new initiative from the UAE government aimed at making use of the economic and scientific opportunities in the robotics and artificial intelligence sector, which has emerged as a significant part of the developed economies in various sectors such as health, education and space industry.
Stressing the importance of cooperative efforts in this area, HE Al Gergawi urged government entities, private sector companies, research and academic institutions to join hands in promoting this annual award as a platform to honour the most important innovations and practical models in the next generation of services using robotics and artificial intelligence.
According to a recent study by McKinsey & Company, robotics and artificial intelligence sector will create an economic value of US$ 8 trillion by 2025, through its impact on different sectors. A Deloitte global index on confidence of private ownership investors in 2015 (Deloitte Private Equity Confidence Survey 2015) also indicates that the robotics and artificial intelligence sector is one of the top 10 sectors of global investment focus in the coming period.
The largest number of entries in the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good was received in the Health category. The following is the percentage of entries received in various categories of the award: Civil Defence 5.16%, Construction 3.23%, Economy 0.56%, Education 15.48%, Environment 5.81%, Health 34.84%, Humanitarian Aid 3.87%, Logistics 1.29%, Social Services 8.39%, Tourism 1.94%, Transport 1.94% and Others 17.42%.
The maximum number of entries was received from the UAE, the US, Spain, the UK, Italy, India, Australia, Russia and Canada. Huge participation was also witnessed from international universities such as MIT, Stanford, The University of Sydney, Carnegie Mellon University, Berkeley University, UAE University and Khalifa University.
The names of 10 applicants from each category who will be eligible to participate in the semi-finals of the International and National competitions will be announced soon by the Organising Committee. At this stage, the selected participants will get the opportunity to demonstrate their ideas in front of the panel of judges, which includes high-profile experts and specialists in robotics and artificial intelligence technologies.
The UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good will honour winners from universities, companies, professionals and individuals in the International Competition with US$ 1 million in prize money while winners in the National Competition will receive AED 1 million. The awards in both the competitions will be handed over at a special ceremony in February 2016 before the fourth Government Summit.
The award aims to encourage research and applications of robotics and artificial intelligence to meet existing challenges in three key sectors: health, education and social services. It will also promote public awareness on the positive applications of these technologies, and help turn innovative ideas into reality to contribute to the development of government services provided by the UAE Government.
The award offers all citizens and residents in the UAE the opportunity to participate individually or collectively in the competition. The UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good represents a unique initiative for the development of government services, highlighting the application of innovations to employ the latest technologies in robotics and artificial intelligence. The International Competition of the award is open to individuals, teams or companies from all around the world.
The competing projects must comply with safety standards and include new technologies. They must also be highly reliable and provide added value. Participants must suggest the type of services of their projects and additional technologies that will be required. For example, robotics can be used to help people with disabilities and health issues and encourage children in education. They can be useful in carrying out complicated and difficult tasks in areas such as firefighting, construction, social welfare and other areas of relevance to all members of the society.