HARTFORD — Two students from Misgav High School in northern Israel captured the overall grand prize — or the BURP (Best Unified Robotics Performance)
Award, as it’s called — at the 20th annual Fire Fighting Home Robot Competition hosted by Trinity College in Hartford earlier this month. Antonio, the robot created by Yuval Shalev and Amit Pilowsky, took first place in the two-day competition’s signature event, the Fire Fighting Competition, which drew some 90 teams from seven countries and more than 10 states. The competition requires an autonomous computer-controlled robot to respond to a fire alarm, find the blaze and extinguish it in the shortest possible time. To accomplish that, the robot must navigate its way through a maze that resembles a house, locate a burning candle, and either squirt water or blow on it in order to put it out. As always, the robots were a colorful mass of wires, sensors, Legos, balloons, squirters, metal rods, wheels, plastic feet, fans and just about every other type of material that the contestants could mesh or weld together.
In the RoboWaiter’s standard level competition – another of the day’s events – a team from Ohel-Shem High School in Ramat Gan, Israel came in second out of 38 teams. RoboWaiter requires an autonomous robot to snatch a dish from a miniature refrigerator and carry it to a small figure seated at a table in a room without spilling the food. The goal of assistive robotics is to help people with special needs improve the quality of their lives.