He pointed out that the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good is different from other awards in the world in two main aspects. Firstly, it focuses on the practical side of robotics technology making it easier for the public and investors in the sector to identify the economic and social values of these projects in order to transform them into services and commercial projects. The submissions covered a wide range of applications on the micro level, including devices that can be implantable inside the human body, as well as big-size applications.
Secondly, the award focuses on artificial intelligence, which plays a major role in transforming robots from mere technical tools for routine tasks into smart tools capable of making decisions and dealing with complex situations.
Al Aleeli added said that one of the main objectives of the award is to make people aware of the potentials of the robotics sector. He also said the award will be expanded in the coming editions in terms of target sectors and participation, aiming for more diversity to establish a global movement that promotes this modern technology to empower people and improve their lives.
International Competition - Semi-finalists:
HERMES robots offer effective solution in disaster management - USA
Among the semi-finalists, team MITBRL from the United States has developed the HERMES (Highly Efficient Robotic Mechanisms and Electromechanical System) robots which can enter areas that are too dangerous for humans, offering an effective solution in disaster management.
"In its commercial phase, we imagine that the robots will cut costs by handling dangerous tasks that are otherwise impossible to accomplish. In addition, this technology also reduces the risk of injury to emergency first responders," said Albert Wang of MITBRL team.
Stressing the urgency to bring these technologies to market, Wang said that both the first customers and the likely first investment will be from governmental organizations that oversee disaster response operations.
"We are very excited to see government initiatives for the use of robotics to improve people's lives. Awards such as this one stimulate growth and inspire talented individuals to work on difficult problems," Wang added.
Autonomous Soft Tissue Robotic Surgery for improved safety - USA
A team from the United States has come up with an 'Autonomous Soft Tissue Robotic Surgery' system offering improved safety, access, and outcome.
Peter Kim from the team said: "We have recently successfully developed and tested a robotic system includes a 3D multispectral imaging system that can detect and differentiate tissue types and organs; a novel system that allows robust 3D tracking of soft tissue targets immune to blood and tissue occlusions. A robotic manipulator with real-time control, capable of adapting to tissue deformations and movement is used to finely apply and tie sutures. These components make the system modular and well-suited to automate any phase of a soft tissue surgery. It has the ability to distinguish between tissue features, quantify and track 3D targets in a messy surgical environment, and intelligently plan and adapt while controlling surgical tools more precisely than a human surgeon."
Peter added: "Our recent success in automating complex surgical tasks has motivated our team to believe that all surgery can be potentially automated in the future. Such automation would bring improved quality, safety and accessibility of the best techniques to all patients around the world."
TechBridgeWorld robots make learning Braille simple and fun - USA
TechBridgeWorld team from the United States has come up with the Braille Tutor robot that allows users to learn how to write, practice writing, and be quizzed on letters, words, and numbers.
"These educational modes were designed based on best practices of the teachers we worked with and were intended to make the Braille writing learning process simple and fun, said Ermine Teves of the TechBridgeWorld team.
"The TechBridgeWorld research group at Carnegie Mellon University aims to bridge the gap between visually impaired individuals and rapidly changing technology by collaborating with partner organizations around the world. By focusing on the slate-and-stylus method, our Braille Writing Tutor and Stand-Alone Braille Writing Tutor devices serve an unmet need of guided Braille writing practice in the developing world," Ermine said.
The project is supported in part by the Qatar National Research, the Fetzer Institute as well as several other partners from around the world, Ermine said.
"To make the Braille Tutor affordable to various communities, we are considering a cross subsidy model. For communities that can afford such resources, we plan to offer Braille Tutor devices with other enhancements relevant to their needs, said Ermine.
The project prototypes have been designed to withstand handling by students. Furthermore, they are designed to be used in environments with unpredictable, intermittent, or no access to grid power. Future research includes developing a sturdy and child-friendly case for the devices.
Commending the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good, Ermine said: "It is great that the UAE is offering such a fantastic opportunity as well as emphasizing the importance of utilizing AI and robotics technology to improve people's lives."
Mars Lab enhances STEM education - Australia
The Mars Lab team from Australia aims to promote participation rates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by primary and high school students by providing them with an immersive and realistic STEM-rich experience in the form of a robotic planetary exploration mission looking for evidence of extraterrestrial life.
"Currently, there is a huge shortage of people with expertise in STEM related industries all over the world. Encouraging participation in STEM learning amongst young people is critical in ensuring that we address these shortages. STEM professionals will be the ones that solve the big problems that humanity will encounter over the next century such as climate change, food supply, disease mitigation, and basic infrastructure accessibility," said Muhammad Esa Attia from the Mars Lab team.
the Mars Lab cuts resource and travel costs for schools while still providing a state of the art STEM education experience as the students do not have to leave their school to take part in the activity, said Muhammad.
Describing robotics and artificial intelligence as critical areas in future development, Muhammed said the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good initiative by the UAE is commendable and is evidence of a nation embracing innovation.
Exoskeletons to help children with neurological disorders - USA
UCB&SuitX team from the United States have devised Affordable Exoskeletons for Children with Neurological Disorders that quickly promotes walking skills among children. In this direction, SuitX and UC Berkeley intend to develop low cost consumer products for rehabilitation centres, particularly in developing countries.
"Our goal in this proposal is not to make a profit; our passion drives this project. With the funding from this award we will not only conduct research to identify and create the basic principles for the development of exoskeletons for children, but also we will donate 10 exoskeletons to rehabilitation centers worldwide. We have already received initial funding from National Science Foundation in US government and private investors," said Homayoon Kazerooni of UCB&SuitX team.
"We believe the project cost would be about US$5 million. While the cost of the technology itself might be higher than available methods, we believe that with our device, children will learn to walk and walking is priceless! This can change the entire future of the child. In the longer term, it will reduce the cost of care of the child even into adulthood, which will reduce the cost on the family and society in general," Homayoon said.
The UCB&SuitX team stated that they faced two significant challenges. Firstly, the size of actuators should be light and low cost, but provide sufficient power for an active child. The team ended up making its own actuators with a very small profile and weight. Secondly, they said the Intelligent Control Algorithms must be smart to accommodate a child's implicit command with list amount of hardware, and the team has made a great deal of progress in this area.
The UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good initiative displays the existence of sympathetic leaders in the Middle East with a deep understanding, respect and generosity for the future of our children worldwide. It will also encourage development of AI and Robotics leading to a dramatic improvement in the quality of life all around the world, Homayoon said.
Makeroni Labs robots use eye-tracking technology to perform tasks - Spain
Makeroni Labs team from Spain has come up with their Eye of Horus project which offers support for physically handicapped people with their tasks. The system combines eye tracking with a frontal camera to know where you are looking. The target devices are identified using light beacons, similar to LiFi technology, and controlled with wireless protocols.
"We want to integrate humans in the new era of Internet of Things and smart cities. We want control everything with a simple eye movement. We want to monitor the state of your eye in order to monitor your health," said Luis Antonio Martin Nuez.
The team said while their device can help people with functional diversity or those who cannot perform tasks due to reduced mobility, it is also useful for drivers as with its help they can interact with the radio or car phone with both hands on the wheel. The device has potential use in entertainment and can be used as an eye-controlled mouse to play video games and position the targets just looking at them.
Luis said the project would help reduce costs by 80 per cent compared with the costs involved in a total home automation system to help disabled individuals.
Currently the team is collaborating with several Spanish companies for the development of the device, and is hopeful that many other companies would come forward to work with it to interconnect the technology to many other devices.
Dytective intelligence system helps detect dyslexia - USA
The Dytective team from the United States has developed an artificial intelligence system to detect dyslexia in individuals and help them overcome it by using scientifically validated computer games.
Luz Rello from the Dytective team said their system would make dyslexia detection up to 90 per cent cheaper than currently prevailing rates. Besides, it can easily be accessed from anywhere in the world, even in areas which do not have any dyslexia experts. It will be available worldwide making all the related costs - transport, facilities, expensive equipment, etc. - extremely cheaper and sustainable, Luz said, adding that Dytective is keen partner with strong organizations which are keen to make an impact in education through technology.
"Initiatives such as the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good will contribute to making a better world in which everybody, regardless of their income, political situations and geographical location will be able to make use of 21st century technology," Luz added.
Robotic Leg replaces medical walker - USA
Andros Robotics team from the United States has come up with Robotic Leg Advancement Device (R-LAD), a battery-powered, computer controlled robotic system, which rides atop a small wheeled frame and serves as a medical walker for patients undergoing training to improve their ability to walk.
"The R-LAD is not an assistive device, but a therapeutic one; it is meant to be used by a physical therapist, to help them administer therapy to a patient in the clinical setting. We envision that the R-LAD will be used with several patients every day, in therapy sessions which last between 30 minutes and one hour," said Maciej Pietrusinski from the Andros Robotics team.
The R-LAD has so far been developed with funds from the US National Science Foundation involving US$ 290,000 to date, and with funds from its industrial partner, a private company operating in the physical medicine and rehabilitation industry. Maciej expects that the product development will take another 18-24 months and several hundred thousand US dollars but aims to offer the device for sale for between US$15,000 and US$20,000.
The safety of the patient and the therapist using the R-LAD is ensured in a number of ways. The R-LAD rides atop a wheeled frame, which also supports the patient to make walking easier and to prevent falls. In addition, the drive mechanism is designed with mechanical travel stops. Finally, the control system limits the forces generated, to ensure safety, Maciej said, adding that the biggest challenge in developing the R-LAD in the early phase was the unsteady and sporadic funding.
The UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good competition aims to reward the focus on improving peoples' lives, which is a very worthy cause for the UAE to take up, said Maciej.
Moley brings robotics to the kitchen - UK
The Moley Robotic Kitchen from the United Kingdom has created a fully integrated automated kitchen, designed for regular homes, that cooks with the skill and flair of a human chef.
Comprising kitchen cabinetry, robotic arms, motion capture system and full set of kitchen equipment and appliances, the Robotic Kitchen replicates the a chef's hand movements to create a variety of delicious and healthy dishes prepared as per world class standards.
"Set to go on sale in 2018, the robotic kitchen will not only create a paradigm shift in the use of robots in the home, it will have a major impact on health and wellbeing. Users will now be able to enjoy freshly cooked meals every day, with less effort than it takes to reheat a mass-produced 'ready meal' or order takeaway for delivery," said Mark Oleynik from the team.
Targeted at consumers with a passion for food and limited cooking ability, and busy individuals who do not have the time to cook, the Moley Robotic Kitchen could also be a practical home assistant for the health conscious individual, the elderly and disabled, providing fresh food for those with special dietary requirements.
The Moley architecture provides safety with a protective, transparent screen that closes when the automatic mode is activated. This completely isolates the robotic components and seals potentially dangerous operations from the rest of the home. The second feature is an integrated fire suppression system that will automatically suppress any unwanted combustion within the Kitchen enclosure.
Moley Robotic Kitchen is designed to be a mass-market proposition. By 2021, three years after launch, it will be sold for $35,000 - comparable to average sums spent on kitchen refurbishment. This creates a potential market of 5.95 million homes in 17 countries. The modular kitchens will be sold around the world through a series of dealerships and flagship stores, Mark said.
KATIA robotic arm performs routine tasks cost-effectively - USA
The Carbon Robotics team from the United States has built KATIA, a low-cost robotic arm that has the capabilities of an industrial robot, but comes at the price of laptop. Besides, it is powered by the team's open platform that lets software developers create new types of robotic applications.
"Robotic arms are the perfect tools to enable people to regain their independence. The problem is that they are prohibitively expensive and often difficult to use. The cheapest robotic arms today cost more than $20,000 and generally require specialized knowledge to perform anything beyond the most basic tasks. As a result, they are out of reach for most people. That's why we made KATIA, which can be mounted to an electric wheelchair to serve as a virtual prosthetic arm or attached to stations and operated remotely," said Rosanna Myers of the Carbon Robotics team.
KATIA can pick items off the floor, assist in personal grooming, and perform any number of tasks that would normally require a caregiver. The arm is simple and intuitive to control, regardless of the user's physical capabilities. Importantly, it is safe enough to have around the home, said Rosanna.
Rosanna said KATIA is 10 times cheaper than the closest competitor on the market, without taking into account its gains from faster setup times, open software, and eliminating the need to hire specialists.
The UAE is really taking a leadership role in advancing robotics and the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good competition will actively foster collaborative communities, said Rosanna.
Self-Driving Wheelchair for People with Severe Motor Disabilities - USA
The OSU Personal Robotics Group from the United States has come up with the idea to adopt techniques from mobile robotics, such as autonomous navigation, to develop a 'Self-Driving Wheelchair for People with Severe Motor Disabilities'. The project aims to support full-time wheelchair users, especially those with severe motor disabilities.
"People who use eye-gaze to communicate can only do one thing at a time, and controlling their chairs means that they have to stop doing everything else every time they move their chairs. By giving the wheelchairs self-driving capabilities, we allow them to move about the world while doing other things: working, talking to people, and so on," said William Smart from the OSU Personal Robotics Group.
"Our goal is to develop a low-cost (US$500) kit that can be easily added to common powered wheelchairs that will turn them into self-driving chairs. We will open-source the designs, both hardware and software, for the kit, and hope to create a user community that shares modifications and improvements. Everything will be based on the popular Robot Operating System (ROS) open-source software," William said.
The robotic chair is equipped with well-tested navigation software and has a number of safety protocols built into it to stop it if there is a danger of collision, William said.
The OSU Personal Robotics Group found it a challenge to understand the needs of the wheelchair users and their caregivers, and they overcame this by working closely with a number of full-time wheelchair users, and fully integrating their ideas into the project.
"I am pleased to see the UAE sponsoring this award, and I am especially happy to see that it can support projects like ours which, although they have limited commercial potential, will be able to impact the lives of many, many people around the world," William added.
National Competition - Semi-finalists:
Smart Guidance innovators provide assistance to the blind
The Smart Guidance System for the Blind, a project from the UAE, offers to independently assist the blind in avoiding obstacles, identifying places or objects and navigating from one place to another. It can detect obstacles in the blind's direction within a distance of up to five metres with a variable frequency (1 to 4 Hz), and gently guide the blind around the obstacles using a combination of 5 vibrators.
The system is capable of distinguishing between floor and obstacles, and describes to the blind using an audio system in conjunction with 2D printed codes, their current position and possible destinations and corresponding directions. It also identifies rooms, stairs, and elevators, etc.
Ahmad Ali from the team project team said the prototype project cost AED 4700 but the final product will be available in range of AED 1500 to 3000.
"As final product, the blind should be able to wear the system assistant comfortable without experiencing overload weight and annoying sounds; just few instructions when necessary. Gentle vibration is used for obstacle detection. Being the IR depth sensor in the head of the blind has benefit that it will alert the user about pendent or high obstacles," Ahmad said.
Ahmad pointed out that low capital and absence of experts in specializations such as artificial intelligence were major challenges, but said he expected investments in the project from entities such as Khalifa Fund, Dubai Oasis Silicon, Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee and Akoun.
Ahmad said the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good will infuse an entrepreneurial mind-set among the youth population and contribute to the economy of the UAE through innovative products and services.
Healthy Robotics develops efficient surgical tool manipulator
The Healthy Robotics team from the UAE has developed a novel compact robotic manipulator that has the ability to accurately and conveniently manipulate and to firmly "lock" in place special purpose surgical tools necessary for minimally invasive therapy.
The project, which involves an estimated cost of AED 25,000, is aimed at healthcare providers, doctors and surgeons, robotics specialists, mechanical engineering designers and mechanical/mechatronics engineering educational institutes.
Highlighting the safety aspects of the project, Basem Yousef of the team said the manipulator for surgical tools utilizes low power to operate and is equipped with back-drivability feature to allow safe and immediate interference of the surgeon/user in cases of emergency shutdowns or unexpected malfunctioning. Also, the robot can be used conveniently in three modes: manual, autonomous and semi-autonomous.
The team faced challenges in producing items with complex geometry parts but overcame them by utilizing top technology tools and the state-of-the art manufacturing and design equipment as well as 3D printers and 3D modeling software.
CoiCAM team offers easy diagnosis of colon cancer
The CoiCAM team from the UAE has offered the Spherical Capsule for Endoscopic Applications which has the ability to overcome the limitations of the current endoscopic capsules, providing a better, safer, and a more comfortable method of endoscopy while having a full visualizing field and controllable motion.
"This project aims to ease the process of diagnosis of colon cancer for the patients. It offers an easy process that will encourage the patients to do the early check-ups to prevent the cancer from spreading," said Halima Al Naqbi from the CoiCAM team.
The Spherical Capsule for Endoscopic Applications project solves the limitations with the current endoscopic capsule in terms of visualization field and locomotion. This new revolution in technology will finally replace the traditional endoscopy method and can save costs for entities in the sector, said Halima.
"The UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good is an opportunity for the public to change the society into a better place to live in. The decision makers in the UAE encourage and support the public, especially the youth, to take active participation in the scientific field," Halima added.
CVD Helper comes to the aid of people with colour vision deficiency
The CVD Helper team from the UAE has developed a solution for people affected by colour vision deficiency, stating that colour blindness affects nearly 300 million people in the world.
"The solution we are making is a device that is hand worn in a form of a bracelet. By a gentle touch of an object, the device will identify the colour and name it out loud. It is also voice controlled and can be used privately by wearing a wireless headset," said Judy Matar of CVD Helper team.
Involving just AED 1000 in material costs, the project is completely safe and efficient, and runs on a 3V battery that doesn't harm the human body if short circuited, said Judy. The team is optimistic that the market will be ready to absorb the project since it is a unique and innovative idea.
"The UAE taking an initiative of launching an AI and robotics for good award is an act of encouragement of innovative solutions. This initiative is encouraging individuals and groups from all around UAE to develop innovative ideas and projects. Supporting innovation in such a way is crucial to support the youth to come up with new unique projects," Judy added.
Brain Controlled Electric Wheelchair
The B Motion team from the UAE has developed a Brain Controlled Electric Wheelchair, that employs non-invasive brain-computer interface based on electroencephalography (EEG) to detect user's thoughts, feelings, and expressions and accordingly issue appropriate commands to the electric wheelchair motor controller.
The chair is primarily targeted at Quadriplegia patients, amputees and patients with spinal cord injuries, who cannot control a conventional wheelchair joystick but have a completely conscious and functioning brain.
Omar Mohammadi from B Motion said the team has so far been working with a limited budget of AED 15,000, including AED 10,000 for the electric wheelchair.
Highlighting the safety aspects, Omar said the system includes an artificial intelligence obstacle avoidance system armed with a camera and real time analysis processing unit. This system allows the wheelchair to automatically avoid collisions with obstacles that might appear suddenly.
"By participating in the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good, we hope to achieve the country's goal of improving people's lives," said Omar.
RE-ACT ROBOT supports patients with neural diseases
The RE-ACT ROBOT team from the UAE has created a haptic robotic system that is capable of aiding patients with neural diseases such as strokes to regain their motor control function. According to the team, the system is cost-effective and easy to use, and can be deployed at home. Besides, it utilizes many off the shelf components to achieve its task and can easily be customized to suit the patient.
Putting the current prototype costs to around AED 4,000, Fahad Al Shaibani from the RE-ACT ROBOT team said their robotic system would replace expensive and complex neuro-rehabilitative devices that are currently used in hospitals. In addition, the system will support the users to undergo additional rehabilitation at home thus reducing expenditure on healthcare and hospital, Fahad said.
The RE-ACT system has been designed with multiple layers of safety. For the current prototype, that is used for the arm, five different safety mechanisms have been deployed across the hardware, software and electrical sides.
The RE-ACT team primarily faced challenges in integrating various levels of engineering to ensure smooth functioning in a safe and user friendly manner, which they overcame through consultation with experts in the field, and by doing extensive research on the latest approaches in the field.
Fahad described the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good as a great initiative to awareness about the use of robotics in civilian applications. Additionally, it allows the members of society such as students and professors to think in an innovative way and to implement new ideas that can help humanity, Fahad added.
Intelligent bore well system ensures quality of water
The Intelligent Wells team from the UAE has come up with an intelligent bore well system that ensures supply of drinking water in rural areas. Called the WaterLoop, the system constantly monitors the quality and level of water and gathers real-time information that could be valuable for both water planning and direct water consumption.
"WaterLoop can sense a problem in the water and inform the authorities responsible for fixing it. This means that the number trips to check the well condition will be reduced and the investors will have direct access to the condition of the well. As a result, responding to broken wells will become faster and more efficient. The device will also be able to receive phone calls from people in rural areas to inform people if there is a blockage or contamination," said Reem Al Junaibi from the Intelligent Wells team.
Highlighting the cost efficiency of the project, Reem said a single device installed on a well is expected to cost under US$ 300, adding that this constitutes an additional 3.4 per cent to the overall cost of building a well.
Reem said the main challenge in the project was its multi-disciplinary approach involving water sensing, data analytics and artificial intelligence. However, this project will move 'water sensing' to a new industry, or the 'Internet of Things', Reem pointed out.
"The UAE has taken a bold step towards realizing the potential of AI and Robotics from applications in developed nations to developing nations. Such technologies will play a vital role in solving some of the world's most pressing issues such as climate change and access to clean water," Reem added.
Mozo learning robot assists children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Mozo team from the UAE has developed a learning robot specially designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Social Deficits and Communication Difficulties symptoms. Made in the form of a one-metre high soft teddy bear called Mozo, the attractive shape of the robot is highly effective on breaking barriers in order to motivate autistic children who have difficulty, shyness or discomfort in interacting with others or practicing social skills with strange people.
The Mozo team has stated that the affordable robot-assisted therapy tool can be used by autism therapists, educators and parents, and controlled through a simple user-friendly mobile application. The mobile application matches the needs of teaching social and communication interactions and provides users with an effective method of teaching skills that are of great challenge for children with ASD.
Reem Al Marzouqi from the Mozo team said the prototype has so far cost around AED 30,000 but the final product will not cost more than AED 7000.
Highlighting the safety aspects of the project, Reem said the robot has rechargeable power banks coated by a thermal insulator. Besides, it has not shown any side effects on children's behaviour but rather improved their social skills.
Reem said Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs and the UAEU have expressed interest in supporting the project.
Artificial intelligence to enhance skill acquisition of athletes
The Skills Acquisition team from the UAE has come up with a project that aims to enhance skill acquisition process for athletes, particularly decreasing the time of motor skill learning by introducing a bio-based teaching signal abstracted from professional athletes.
At this stage of the project, its teaching signals are muscles activations patterns abstracted from a professional athlete using Electromyography (EMG). These signals are collected and processed in a workstation and then projected on the muscles of the trainee through specific network of muscles stimulators.
Aimed at athletes, coaches, clubs, health authorities and private rehabilitation centres, the project in its in prototype phase has cost the team about US$ 5000-7,000.
The team faced challenges in building the electrical circuits to accomplish human-machine interface but were able to overcome them through research and support from colleagues. However, a financial challenge still exists, and the prototype therefore is simple, said Fatima Hareb of the team.
The team is looking at support from investors in health and sports sector. "Those interested in horse and camel race can be considered in our list after the product development," Fatima added.
The 'UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good' was launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, during the third Government Summit in February 2015, as one of the initiatives of International Council on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, which was formed in collaboration with the World Economic Forum during Global Agenda Council hosted by the UAE Government last year.
The Council includes thought leaders from some of the largest universities and the most important companies and institutions around the world. It aims to offer advice on the best ways to use robotics and artificial intelligence to improve human life and work on a global strategy for the use of robots in several key sectors.
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© Press Release 2016