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AgriFoRwArdS Attends ICRA 2024

By Yi Zhang

In May, I had the honour of participating in the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) held in Yokohama, Japan. The conference had an attendance of 7000 individuals from over the world, both in-person and online.

Over the course of the five-day event, a wide array of sessions delved into various aspects of robotics, covering topics such as grasping and manipulation, sensors and actuation, and the application of robots across different scenarios. The conference exhibition featured numerous robotics companies, each presenting exciting demonstration that I thoroughly enjoyed. Aligned with the conference theme “CONNECT+”, the conference provided a venue for participants for connecting and discussion. I also had the opportunity to engage in discussions about robotics with researchers from around the world.

One particularly inspiring workshop focused on cooking robotics. Industry professionals from the food sector were also present and shared their invaluable insights and experiences. I gained a deeper understanding of the diverse skill sets required at different levels of culinary expertise. The tasks in the lowest level included peeling and cutting ingredients, a job typically deemed tedious and time-consuming by chefs. While there is a clear need for introducing robots into the kitchen, current robot systems still face challenges in executing these tasks. This realization encouraged me to develop more reliable and safer control algorithms to perform these essential culinary functions.

During the conference, I also participated in the food handling competition organized by RT Corporation, my AgriFoRwArdS industry partner. I tackled the task of preparing a traditional Japanese dish ‘Ikuradon’ (salmon roe rice bowl) using the control algorithm we are developing. The experience provided valuable insights into the challenge our algorithm faces and allowed me to learn how other teams customized their use of the RT robot and approached the task.

While attending the conference in Japan, I had the opportunity to visit the office of RT Corporation. It was enlightening to witness their endeavour in developing a variety of robots for industrial and educational use.

Thank you to Yi for taking the time to share her experiences of this amazing conference.

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