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RoCKIn Robot Challenge

Recently holding our introductory event, RoCKIn Camp 2013, at this year’s Robocup in Eindhoven, the RoCKIn challenge is a three year EU initiative that hopes to use robot competitions to innovate for smarter, more dependable robots. Building on the already successful RoboCup@Work and RoboCup@Home, the RoCKIn challenge is split into two streams; RoCKIn@Work seeks to engage the question of how robots could help European industry in the future, while RoCKIn@Home looks at developing domestic service robots. Specialised training events will occur during the next two years, building up to competitions in 2014 and 2015. A first report outlining the concepts and aims of the challenge has just been released, and it delves into greater detail surrounding the inspirations for the challenge through user stories and the benchmarked competition criteria that have developed off them.

User stories that have inspired the @Work stream predominantly focus on logistics and assembly: for example the handling of return shipments for online retailers. The desired outcome in this case is for robots to open returned parcels and then sort them into broad categories for human inspection to then decide if resale is possible. Another user story that has inspired the @Work stream is within the construction industry. Creating robots that are able to spray paint areas or walls and from this aim, competition criteria extensions will introduce obstacles such as windows or doors to further innovation and robotic skill.

For the @Home stream, the inspiration has come from maintaining life standards for the elderly. Robots being able to set the table, assist with bathing, and clean the kitchen or bathrooms, could all offer measureable improvements to life. With cleaning the bathroom for example, robots must be able to use appropriate cleaners and tools, manoeuvre around faucets, and create a safe hygienic environment for the user. These real life aims have directly affected the competition design to make it as engaging and relatable as possible.

Many of the skill requirements that these user stories require are transferable to different sectors, with the overall aim being to further robotics within the EU and take strides forward in tackling the issues of tomorrow. The full report with further examples as to the motivation for the @Work and @Home challenges can be found here, in the publications section of the RoCKIn website.

The RoCKIn challenge will build up to competitions in 2014 and 2015, allowing teams to showcase their robotic engineering prowess using scenarios, tasks and benchmarking that are highly relevant to real world processes and user stories aforementioned. What makes the competition slightly different though is that we want your input throughout the process to help further develop and enhance the challenge. Using the discussion forum you can put forward your thoughts on the scenarios, tasks, functionalities, and benchmarking methods and tools, for the two RoCKIn challenges. Running alongside the competitions will be RoCKIn Camp and RoCKIn Field Exercise events - educational and practical sessions lead by the RoCKIn Team to give teams the expertise to improve and develop their creation.

Further information on the event can be found on the website, and keep up to date with all current news and developments by following us on twitter: @RoCKInChallenge