The ‘Gong wins it!
The UOW Robotics Team beat 25 teams from 19 universities across Australia and New Zealand, during the live final at the University of Technology, Sydney, on Monday September 26.
Both UTS teams - The Real Housewives of UTS and Robosoc - reached the quarterfinals, but were overtaken by Swinburne University’s Swinbots, runner-up for the second year, with 2015's winner,RMIT’s HelpAR, in third place.
Western Sydney University’s team Unlimited Robotics won the Award for best-looking robot.
“We’re incredibly proud of our achievement," said UOW's Shannon Wood. "We didn’t expect to win. Instead of prioritising speed, we focused on a simple and reliable approach that ended up being effective.”
Each year sees a new theme for the competition and for 2016 the theme was Hospital of the Future. Each autonomous robot navigated a course, completed tasks such as depositing medicine to multiple locations accurately and efficiently, avoiding obstacles, reaching its final destination with precision.
"Robotic technology is currently being used successfully in hospitals to perform complex surgery using minimally invasive procedures such as prostatectomies and cardiac valve repair," said Professor Hung Nguyen AM, Director of the UTS Centre for Health Technologies. "Doctors use assistive robots for precision and accuracy that would otherwise be more difficult, or impossible. This technology is developing and rapidly improving all the time, enabling hospitals and medical practices to improve the timeliness and efficiency of performing various procedures. The utcomes for patients are also greatly improved with a shorter stay in hospital, quicker recovery and minimal complications following surgery."
Artificial intelligence is also currently being used alongside surgeons and Professor Nguyen says its use will increase in the future in a much more seamless way.
"Despite the excellent outcomes that come with utilising new technologies, the associated cost and maintenance are high and can be prohibitive for some organisations. Currently, these systems are not yet fully autonomous and still require human assistance/intervention to operate. There is no doubt that, over time, the abilities and efficiencies of robotic technology will increase. Autonomous and semi-autonomous robotic technology can be fully accepted by both users and recipients, if safety aspects are fully satisfied. In addition, the quality of procedures performed by the robots must not be compromised," said Professor Nguyen.
Competition guest judges included Bruce Howards, President of Engineers Australia, UTS Professor Shoudong Huang, and Rejwan Ali, NI. The UOW team was awarded a prize of $2,500, while runners-up Swinburne received $1,000 and RMIT $500. The best-looking robot won $500 for WSU.
“UTS welcomes the NI challenge as competitions like this are a great way to motivate and challenge students to apply their learning, and to showcase their creatively and ingenuity responding to a realistic brief,” said Professor Ian Burnett, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology FEIT).
“As host organisation, we certainly enjoyed the spectacle and the adrenaline of the competition and also the opportunity to establish a complementary hands-on workshop for high school students interested in robotics. In years to come, we may see some of them move into tertiary study and design their own entries for future competitions.”
ABC Radio National's Health Report covered the competition and you can hear interviews with Prof Nguyen and both UTS teams here
UTS will host the 2017 NI Robotics completion – date and theme to be confirmed!
NSW: Macquarie University, Western Sydney University, University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, University of New South Wales
Queensland: Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland
Victoria: RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Melbourne
South Australia: University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, Flinders University
Western Australia: Edith Cowan University
New Zealand: University of Auckland, Manukau Institute of Technology, Massey University, University of Waikato, Victoria University of Wellington