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U of M's SnoBots dismantle the competition in international event

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THERE'S snoBody who can match the SnoBots.

The University of Manitoba's humanoid robots won the King's class all-around event of the 2013 FIRA HuroCup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, an international competition.

FIRA is the oldest robotics competition in the world.

In the HuroCup competition, the humanoid robots compete in an octathlalon which includes a sprint, marathon, lift-and-carry, obstacle run, weightlifting, basketball free throws, soccer and a climbing wall.

It challenges the robotics team in a broad range of skills, such as humanoid motion, complex motion planning and human-robot interaction.

The U of M SnoBots, named Jimmy and Jeff, placed first in wall climbing and weightlifting, were second in United soccer (joining other competitors to form a team), fourth in the sprint and fifth in soccer penalty kicks.

The students travelling to Kuala Lumpur with the SnoBots were Chris Iverach-Brereton and Josh Jung.

"Doing well in one event is usually a tough goal when you have only two students going and many teams have a dozen, and the competition is the best in the world," said Dr. John Anderson, the U of M's head of computer science, in a press release. "But doing well enough across the board to win the entire event is an enormous achievement; we're overjoyed both with the performance and what it demonstrates about our core research."

Faculty who oversaw the robots' development and testing are the directors of the U of M's Autonomous Agents Lab, Anderson and Jacky Baltes, who also travelled to Kuala Lumpur.

Members of the robotics team that helped create the computer code for the SnoBots' operation include Diana Carrier, Tiago Martins Araujo, Geoff Nagy, Meng Cheng Lau and Andrew Winton.

To see the SnoBots perform their victory dance, go to: http://youtu.be/yZO6F5_jJpw

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 31, 2013 A9

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