Manufacturing competition for universities: "Stack a Better Pallet"

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) invites university teams to participate in the 2010 Virtual Manufacturing Automation Competition to simulate an industrial robot stacking boxes on a shipping pallet. NIST, IEEE, and Georgia Tech are co-sponsoring the competition. The winning team will run part of its simulated task on a robot at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2010 in Anchorage, Alaska, in May.

To participate, teams need a computer-gaming engine available for about $10. From this they can use existing computer code or create their own to develop a simulation of a robot picking up odd-lot boxes from a conveyor belt and arranging them on a pallet for shipping. NIST will define the metrics for determining what makes a “good” mixed pallet. The competition should help students engage in real-word research for learning robotic architectures, motion planning systems, and multi-robot control, according to NIST.

The deadline for entering is Feb. 15 and the competition takes place May 2 to 3. Get more information, including a simple example of a robot simulation. Questions? Contact NIST researchers.

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