Staff and students from the Faculty of Engineering ran a 2-day, hands-on exhibition of robots as part of the Robot Warriors event at the Royal Armouries in Leeds last weekend.
Working demonstrations on display included a Kinect steered car, a Wiimote controlled robot and a room-mapping robot using ultrasound. Poster and static displays included the Djedi pyramid exploration project and the wormbot.
Other activities included a careers talk by Professor Ian Robertson (Head of the School of Electronic & Electrical Engineering) and a discussion panel on “The Ethics of Robot Wars” featuring Professor Noel Sharkey (University of Sheffield), Jamie Sefton (Game Republic), Professor Ian Robertson, Kevin MacNish (University of Leeds, IDEA Ethics CETL) and Trevor Weston (National Firearms Centre).
In his careers talk, Ian explained that while humanoid robots and androids feature heavily in science fiction films, they are just a very small facet of a huge research and development activity. For example, if you wanted to make a robotic vacuum cleaner you would design a dedicated autonomous system from scratch - you would not base your design on a human standing and holding a conventional vacuum cleaner. A robot can best be defined as a machine that is guided by a computer, using a variety of electronic sensors to identify its environment and actuators to interact with it. Such systems are already widely used in manufacturing automation, transport, medicine, security and defence, agriculture, mining, archaeology, entertainment and space exploration.
There is a wide range of specialist degree subjects involved in a robot’s design, including: Computer Science (artificial intelligence, computer vision, biologically inspired systems, swarms); Electronic and Electrical Engineering (embedded systems, sensors and actuators, communications, power electronics and drives) and Mechanical Engineering (structural analysis, design and manufacture, dynamics). The multidisciplinary Mechatronics and Robotics degree programme at Leeds is especially suitable for anyone aspiring to a professional career in the field.
Interviewed on Radio Leeds before the event, Professor Robertson said “Most of all I am looking forward to meeting potential young engineers and getting them interested in a career in engineering.”
Weekend Warriors Robots - Event details