NHK showcases Robot progress

Chris Forrester

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Japanís public broadcaster NHK has just hosted the 8th edition of the annual Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Unionís international robot contest. The event, won by a Chinese team, showed some amazing robotic solutions to a very challenging contest. The show was aired on Saturday Aug 22.

The student teams, drawn from 20 nations, exhibited their skills before 2500 wildly enthusiastic spectators, and worked to the theme ďTravel together for the victory drumsĒ. The contest focused on the old Japanese tradition of Kago (a palanquin chair, carried by two bearers).

An Automatic Carrier Robot at the front and a Manual Carrier Robot in the rear cooperate to carry a Ďpassengerí robot in a Kago with the aim of completing the tough journey before the other teams. Various tasks stood in the way, including a Mountain Pass and Woods. The Kago and passenger robot must not be dropped. Then, the passenger robot beats the three Victory Drums when it reaches the Goal Zone. The team that beats all three drums first is the winner. Each match lasted just three minutes.

The Harbin Institute of Technology (China) won victory over Hong Kong in the final, and won the Grand Prix. This is the third victory for China, and it is the first time in ABU Roboconís history for a country or region to win victory for three consecutive years. Shigeo Fukuchi, the president of NHK presented the award.

Contestants came from as far afield as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Indonesia, Turkey, Nepal and Mongolia, as well as India, Malaysia, Macau, India, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan.

This international robot contest was realized by the ABU (Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union) membership organizations at the call of NHK, to cultivate young engineers and promote international friendship between the countries as well as to enhance quality of program production in the Asia-Pacific region. The first contest was held in 2002 in Tokyo, the second in Bangkok, third in Seoul, fourth in Beijing, fifth in Kuala Lumpur, sixth in Hanoi, seventh in India and this year again in Japan.