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RoboLab Live 2023

On the 21st June 2023 AgriFoRwArdS Cohort 3 student Alex Elias along with several members of the University of Lincoln L-CAS team, including our very own Prof Marc Hanheide, (CDT Director), and Cohort 3 student, Samuel Carter, took part in the UK RAS Robot Lab Live event for the third year running.

Robot lab Live is a virtual showcase of cutting-edge robotics technology, and the flagship event of the UK Festival of Robotics. Building on the success of the mass robotics livestream events in 2021 and 2022, Robot Lab Live returned to screen around the country this year on the 21st of June and this year I had the privilege to be a part of University of Lincolns submission as the livestream manager. Each team that participated demonstrated their cutting-edge robots and autonomous systems simultaneously to live audiences on YouTube. Viewers had the options to flick between the different demos throughout the two hour livestream so they didn’t have to miss any demonstrations as they were repeated four times throughout the stream.

In 2021, the UK Robotics Week was revamped as the UK Festival of Robotics. This 7-day annual celebration is held in the last full week of June every year and aims to boost public engagement in robotics and intelligent systems. This exciting week-long programme ran this year from the 17th -23rd June 2023, which offered events, special competitions, and interactive activities for robot enthusiasts of all ages to participate in.

This year’s event featured 8 of the leading robotics research groups in the UK, with each team showcasing its state-of-the-art robots and autonomous systems in tandem to a live YouTube audience. Each demonstration took place during a two-hour livestream during which viewers could pose questions, interact with the demonstrators, and question the research teams on their work.

This year we had the privilege to be hosted by the Lincoln Museum as the demonstration, which the fitting named indicated “A Day out at the museum with robots” was discussing Lindsey the robotic tour guide as well as the Double teleoperated robot. The presenters this year were our very own Prof Marc Hanheide and Francesco Del Duchetto who walked us through the importance’s of robots in cultural spaces such as museums as well as the difficulties in which these robots face when working in such a busy environment.

The features of the Lindsey robot were discussed giving the viewers who have never visited the museum before or interacted with the robot a better understanding of what it is Lindsey can do, such as a guided tour and discussions about exhibits. While also highlighting some of the robots other importance features that make it work such as how Lindsey tracks human engagement through its camera which the information is used to indicate how engaging it is to people throughout the interact and even discussed when asked by a view why Lindsey had eyes that could blink, but to find out the answer to that question I guess you’re going to have to go over to YouTube to find out for yourself with the link here!

The real star of the shows were the Lindsey and Double robot. The Double is a self-driving two-wheeled videoconferencing robot that revolutionizes the way people work and learn remotely. Dr Matthew Story connected to the Double all the way from Sheffield during the demonstration and discussed how the Double is the ultimate tool for remote workers as well as students to feel more connected by having a physical presence when they can’t be in the room themselves as well as other benefits of using these teleoperated robots. 

Who was involved in the livestream event this year:

Overall, the day was a success with 700 people tuning in live and within the first 24 hours an additions 500+ people have replayed with a lot more since the livestream, but as always things never go one hundred percent according to plan as you can see when you go to watch the livestream. The day had come everyone had been rehearsing, everything was in its place, everyone ready for the livestream and as I counted us in to the first demonstration 3, 2 ,1 the WIFI get disconnected from the museum and everything goes offline, everyone jumped to actions to reconnected every computer/ robot that would be on the livestream and go back up ten minutes after the initial start point but after that everything ran smoothly and this can be seen throughout the livestream.

A huge thank you to Marc, Alex and Samuel from the AgriFoRwArdS CDT, as well as the L-CAS for taking the time to share the details of the RoboLab Live 2023 event and for a highly entertaining and information live broadcast!  You can find the link here to the recorded event!

Do you want to get involved in the CDT?

If you are interested in learning more about what we do and if you share a passion for agriculture and technology then go to our AgriFoRwArdS CDT website to see more about our research, how you can be involved, and how to apply to be a student in the program.

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