On Thursday, February 9 2012, the UCD Robotics Group hosted the first UCD Robotics Open Day sponsored by the UCD School of Computer Science & Informatics, CLARITY Centre for Sensor Web Technologies and the European robotic project RUBICON.
The day featured demonstrations of robots big and small, with highlights including the Nao, a 2 feet tall humanoid robot from Aldebaran Robotics, which was impressing attendees with his Tai Chi and Irish language skills, as well as a fully autonomous sailing boat, developed by Brian Mulkeen from UCD's School of Engineering. Spectators also made fast friends with a TurtleBot, a small robot based on the iRobot Create platform, which was happily following people around the room wherever it could find them.
After the demonstrations, robotics researchers from all over Ireland had been invited to present their work to a general audience. Prof. Gregory O' Hare, PI with CLARITY, opened up proceedings while Dr. Bryan Gardiner introduced attendees to some of the avenues of research conducted at the University of Ulster, Magee, while Dr. John Kelleher, head of the DIT Applied Intelligence Group, presented DIT's research into robotic dialogue and spatial cognition systems. Howell Jordan, from the LERO Irish Software Engineering Research Centre in Limerick, talked about developing robot control software on computationally constrained platforms, while Conor McGinn gave an overview of the Trinity Robotics Club and how students in Ireland could get involved in robotics. The sessions also featured talks by two UCD robotics researchers. Dr. Mauro Dragone presented RUBICON, a recently funded FP7 project coordinated by UCD, and Jennifer Treanor introduced the notion of generating robotic hardware drivers for rapid development of robot control software. The day finished with a tour of the UCD Robotics Laboratory.
Congratulations to all involved in the organisation of the day, it was a wonderful success!