National Instruments' Stephen Plumb and the Centre for Mining Innovation at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), hope to uncover robotics talent in South Africa (SA) through a mobile robotics competition to be conducted during the annual Robotics and Mechatronics Symposium in Gauteng between November 23 and 25, 2011.
The mining theme has been set, since the CSIR centre is of the opinion that by extensive robotics research, the vast gold resources in South Africa’s gold mines, which are presently mineable, but an expensive process that can be tapped into.
An official statement explains that unlike previous competitions, which only allowed undergraduate entries, post-graduates can also involve themselves and help build the competency and the complexity of their project. In this manner, while the competition brings in more complex entries, graduate engineers in RoboticsSA will be able to harness the robotic mining opportunities in South Africa.
As the competition expects to be more inclusive than exclusive, robots meeting the criteria will be eligible for the completion. According to RoboticsSA, any software architecture and hardware platform will be welcome and the robotic tasks could be tele-operated (remote control). However, the operator will be isolated from the arena and will have to be dependent solely on the robot’s wireless communication and sensors to perceive and see what ensues in the arena.
Each team can be of any size and may involve both undergraduate and post-graduate students. Entries for the competition will close in June 2011.