For the first time FIRST LEGO League was held in Croatia, at FER on January 14th 2017. The league runs for 18 years and is held in 80 countries around the world, and thanks to organization of Croatian Robotic Association, Croatia is one of them. During the opening ceremony NAO robot performed one of his distinctive dances and wowed the audience.
Competition consists of multiple parts (core values, scientific project, robot game, mechanical design) and our Prof. Zdenko Kovačić and Barbara Arbanas were the judges of the technical part. This year 11 teams of children aged 9-16 applied and we expect even more in the upcoming years!
LARICS and LABUST organized H2020 project subCULTron workshop under the title of “stress test workshop” at UNIZG FER on 9 – 13 January 2017 with all project partners representatives.
Overall goal of the workshop was to feature freeze new electronic design for mass production of 100+ aMussel units. Extensive testing on three newly produced aMussels in the pool as well as out of it validated the design and provided us with the data to make minor adjustments before taking the next step.
Barbara Arbanas attended “Lucia 2016 – 3nd PhD school on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics”, held in Örebro, Sweden on December 12-16, 2016. The school provided a unique training and human experience. Lecture topics covered technologies at the forefront of research in AI and in Robotics, while some of these were applied through hands-on exercises on real robots. It also showed to be the opportunity to discuss the research work with top level scholars as well as other students, and to extend networks. Barbara also presented project subCULTron in an interactive poster session.
From 8 – 11.10.2016. LARICS researchers participated in LARICS seminar that was jointly organized with KoREMA. Senior members presented an overview of results and on-going tasks of LARICS projects. Plans for next year research activities in LARICS were discussed. As a part of the seminar social program LARICS team visited Sibenik.
LARICS researchers participated in Breaking the Surface 2016 event in Biograd na moru. Prof. Stjepan Bogdan gave invited lecture “Unmanned system for maritime security and environmental monitoring“. As a part of demonstrations LARICS researchers participated in presentation of two projects – subCULTron (dr.sc. Tamara Petrovic and Barbara Arbanas) and MORUS (dr.sc.Matko Orsag and Tomislav Haus). Both presentations were well attended and researchers from all over the world expressed interest in hardware and software developed in LARICS.
First subCULTron review meeting was held in Zagreb on 28th of September. In the meeting participated our Prof. Bogdan and Assoc. Prof. Nikola Mišković from LABUST.
As a part of the meeting, we played a live demo for the reviewers which validated all of the efforts put into the project so far. Demo team consisted of LARICS (Tamara Petrović, Goran Vasiljević, Barbara Arbanas) and LABUST members (Anja Babić, Ivan Lončar), accompanied by Daniel Moser from UNIGRAZ. All of the tasks within the demo (autonomous docking, inductive charging of aMussels via aPad, environmental monitoring task, SMS communication, tweeting) were a complete success.
The subCULTron team had yet another successful workshop and general assembly in the first week of September 2016. This workshop was dedicated to reliability testing of first batch of ten aMussels. The workshop was held at the Brodarski Institute, Zagreb. The main focus of this workshop was to prepare for upcoming review and to identify possible weaknesses. Various tests such as autonomous docking, diving, interacting with humans via SMS, twitter etc were tested with very encouraging results.
The ADORE team at work.
The local news portal Zg-Magazin published a story about our ADORE project. You can read the full story here
Project MORUS internal workshop was held from 20.06. – 24.06.2016. at FER. The main purpose of the workshop was the knowledge transfer between the project partners as well as integration of developed software modules, particularly, the system state machine, models for Gazebo simulator and communication modules. On Thursday, 23.06.2016. the project partners visited lake Jarun where LABUST team demonstrated unmanned underwater vehicle behavior in the real world conditions.
As a member of European Control Association (EUCA) General Assembly, Prof. Stjepan Bogdan attended the meeting that was held during 2016 European Control Conference, that took place in Aalborg, Denmark. As a part of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles session at ECC2016, Prof. Bogdan presented paper “Human-in-the-Loop Control of Multi-Agent Aerial Systems”.
Prof. Stjepan Bogdan attended The 2016 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), Washington DC, USA, where he presented paper “Design Consideration for a Large Quadrotor with Moving Mass Control”, by Tomislav Haus, Matko Orsag and Stjepan Bogdan.
Three LARICS researchers and PhD students attended the 24th Mediterranean Conference on Control and Automation, that took place on 21-24 June 2016 in Athens, Greece. Goran Vasiljević presented the paper “Model predictive control based torque vectoring algorithm for electric car with independent drives” by G. Vasiljević and S. Bogdan. Edin Kočo gave a presentation of the paper “Multiobjective locomotion optimization of quadruped robot with different 2DOF configurations of actuated spine” by E. Kočo and Z. Kovačić. Finally, Tomislav Haus presented the paper “A novel concept of attitude control for large multirotor-UAVs based on moving mass control” by T. Haus, N. Prkut, K. Borovina, B. Marić, M. Orsag and S. Bogdan.
This year LARICS students received again two Rector Awards; Tomislav Petkovic and Luka Petrovic mentored by Prof. Stjepan Bogdan, for their work “Decentralized Control of Multi-agent Robotic Systems”, and Luka Malovan and Mirko Kokot mentored by Prof. Zdenko Kovacic for their work “Robot Assisted Autism Diagnostics: Evaluation of Robot-child Interaction”. Here is the list of all LARICS laureates in the last 16 years: 2001 – Bruno Birgmajer; 2002 – Ivan Ljubic; 2003 – Goran Genter and Ranko Munk; 2005 – Alan Mutka, 2006 – Andrija Ersek and Ivana Palunko; 2007 – Maja Varga, Matko Orsag and Mario Dogan; 2008 – Davor Mihaljevic, Robert Rantes and Petar Mateljak; Zoran Vrhovski, Ivan Jakus and Natasa Kovjanovic; 2009 – Kristian Hengster Movric; 2011 – Grgo Cupic; Frano Petric and Ivan Rajkovic, 2012 – Josip Cesic, Jurica Goricanec, and Tomislav Haus; 2013 – Edin Koco. 2014 – Marko Car and Antun Ivanovic; Anja Babic and Nikola Jagodin, 2015 – Luka Fucek, Antun Vukicevic and Josip Vukicevic; Damir Mirkovic, 2016 – Tomislav Petkovic, Luka Petrovic, Luka Malovan and Mirko Kokot. It is worth to mention that we had also two recipients of the Rector Award in the pre-LARICS era, 1993 – Kresimir Mudrovcic and 1994 – Marinko Markic.
Prof. Zdenko Kovacic and Frano Petric participated as presenters at the Conference on Education, Innovation and Enterpreneurship organized by the Technical College in Bjelovar, Croatia. Prof. Kovacic held a lecture entitled “Autism and autism diagnostics with a robot evaluator”. Frano conducted a demonstration workshop “A robot as a friend”.
We are pleased to announce that the book chapter “Harmonization of Research and Development Activities Toward Standardization in the Automated Warehousing Systems” co-authored by Z. Kovačić, M. Butler, P. Lista, G. Vasiljević, I. Draganjac, D. Miklić, T. Petrović, and F. Petric has been just published in the book Autonomous Industrial Vehicles: From the Laboratory to the Factory Floor, Editor(s): R. Bostelman (NIST); E. Messina, ASTM International, pp. 106-128, April 2016 (available on-line: DOI:10.1520/STP159420150050). In this chapter, we describe some ideas of robotic system standardization based on the recently concluded research and development processes in the European FP7 project named EC-SAFEMOBIL, which was focused on estimation and control technologies for safe, wireless, high-mobility cooperative systems. In the given analysis of possible standardization of automated warehousing systems, we elaborate on ideas on how to overcome evident gaps between academic achievements and viable industry practice. Paying particular attention to process and development standards, as well as function-specific standards, we describe our view of reaching new standards in automated warehousing systems, particularly with a number of deployed automated guided vehicles (AGVs).
In front of the assessment committee (Prof. Stjepan Bogdan, Prof. Zdenko Kovacic, and Prof. Ivana Palunko), LARICS PhD student Goran vasiljevic mentored by Prof. Kovacic successfully presented and defended the topic of his doctoral dissertation entitled „High precision markerless localization of mobile robots in indoor industrial environments“. The Committee agreed upon expected scientific contributions and thereafter, the Faculty Council and the Technical Committee of the University of Zagreb should still approve the given topic proposal. The aim of this doctoral dissertation is to extend the current state of the art in the indoor industrial environments and eliminate limitations present in current systems due to the use of marker-based localization solutions. Contribution is intended to be achieved by development and implementation of new localization methods, in order to achieve the accuracy required within specific industrial applications that can only be achieved using markers. Developed new methods are planned to be implemented on a real autonomous forklift and their performance validated in realistic indoor industrial conditions (automated warehouses).
On May 23rd, Jutarnji list, one of the most prominent Croatian newspaper published an article about subCULTron project. Featured on the front page, it encompasses an extensive interview with our own Prof. Stjepan Bogdan and Asst. Prof. Nikola Mišković from Laboratory for Underwater Systems and Technologies, LABUST. The article provided a great visibility to the project and yielded many positive reactions. Other LARICS members working on subCULTron project are Tamara Petrović, Goran Vasiljević and Barbara Arbanas.
This year’s ICRA conference (IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation) held from 16th until 21st of May 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden was attended by multiple members of LARICS team. Matko Orsag, Tamara Petrović, Karlo Griparić, Tomislav Haus, Edin Kočo, Antun Ivanović, Barbara Arbanas and Marko Car participated in various conference activities.
In a short three minute presentation, Barbara presented the paper Aerial-ground robotic system for autonomous delivery tasks and was later joined by her coauthors Matko, Tamara, Tomislav, Antun and Marko in a forty minute interactive session, where conference attendees could ask questions about the presented paper in more detail.
Matko, Tamara, Karlo and Tomislav took part in “Nature vs. Nurture in Robotics” workshop, where they presented ASSISIbf project with a poster accompanied with a short presentation. They also attended a panel discussion on the same subject.
Conference was an overall success as we were able to present our laboratory to the community, as well as introduce the robotics@FER.hr brand which joins forces of three robotics labs from our faculty — LARICS, LABUST (Laboratory for Underwater Systems and Technologies) and LAMOR (Laboratory for Autonomous Systems and Mobile Robots).
One of the key components in the interaction of NAO robots and children is a vocal communication. In the protocol for diagnostics of autism adapted for NAO robots, the tasks like Call by name require vocal communication in Croatian language. NAO robots speak French and English very fine, but they do not speak Croatian. Here comes the reason why Prof. Kovacic, Dr. Damjan Miklic and Frano Petric gladly accepted an invitation to visit the laboratories of the Technical Faculty in Novi Sad and the company Alfanum, a regional leader in speech communication technologies. Thanks to the agreement to start the collaboration between two parties, our NAO robots now speak Croatian very well and we are going to teach them to understand some Croatian vocabulary that is most often used by small children. We would like to thank Prof. Vlado Delic and Darko Pekar from Alfanum for their full openness and warm welcome.
Paper “New Variable Passive-compliant Element Design for Quadruped Adaptation to Stiffness-varying Terrain”, written by Edin Koco, Alan Mutka and Prof. Zdenko Kovacic is now published online in the International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems. The paper presents the design of a novel variable passive-compliant (VPC) element utilized as a lower-leg implant of a fully electrically driven quadruped robot. It is designed as a slider-piston mechanism which ensures that the force produced during a foot-ground contact is directly perpendicular to the contact surface of an actuated revolute spring. In this way, by altering the stiffness of quadruped legs in a closed-loop manner, the VPC element enables the quadruped robot to adapt to varying terrain characteristics, ensuring a constant hopping frequency over a wide range of terrain-stiffness variations.