ARTS – Autonomous ResilienT Systems

Research group РIMT Nord Europe РCERI Syst̬mes Num̩riques

Recap of the Intense 2-Day Robot-IA in Hauts de France Hosted by IMT Nord Europe

The exhilarating two-day robotics and AI hackathon has come to a close, leaving a lasting impression on both participants and organizers. With unwavering dedication, students, assisted by their coaches, toiled tirelessly to prepare their demos and pitches for the grand showcase. Amidst the challenge, there was an abundance of hard work, contemplation, laughter, and camaraderie as teams shared tips and provided support during the intricate process of debugging ROS2-based code, ranging from YAML launch files to Python-based object recognition and robot motion planning.

The Task: Sorting Parts with Robotics and AI

On the morning of Thursday, January 25th, 2024, teams of four to five students were introduced to the challenge at hand: sorting parts using a 6-axis Ned2 robotic arm by Nyrio, equipped with a gripper and a camera. Two sets of parts awaited them – a simpler set comprising three squares and three disks in red, green, and blue, and a more complex set featuring diverse shapes and colors. The robotic arm’s task was to carefully place these parts into a tray mounted on a Turtlebot-2 mobile robot, complete with a 2D Lidar range sensor. Additionally, teams had to construct a maze map using a SLAM algorithm. Once the parts were loaded onto the tray by the robotic arm, the mobile robot was entrusted with transporting them to specific locations within the maze. The catch? All of this had to be achieved in the shortest possible time while skillfully avoiding both static and moving obstacles.

Challenges and Unexpected Issues

The hackathon posed genuine challenges, leading to some unexpected issues. On Thursday night, it was discovered that the Raspberry Pi devices controlling the Turtlebots had synchronization issues through NTP, resulting in significant clock drift and ROS message rejection. Friday noon brought an unforeseen disruption when the internet provider experienced an incident, disconnecting everyone from the web. Furthermore, several teams inadvertently shared the same ROS domain ID, causing unpredictably erratic robot movements as ROS nodes from different projects unwittingly connected to the same robots.

Team Progress and Solutions

By the afternoon of Friday, January 26th, 2024, all teams had made substantial progress in tackling various aspects of the challenge and were able to present their solutions and potential enhancements. Some teams successfully maneuvered the robotic arm to transport simple objects, while others excelled in guiding the mobile base through the maze’s narrow corridors. The most exceptional teams demonstrated seamless collaboration between the Nyrio robotic arm and the Turtlebot equipped with Lidar.

Congratulations and Gratitude

Congratulations are in order for all the participants who contributed to this unforgettable event. Gratitude is extended to the diligent organizers from IMT Nord Europe whose hard work and dedication ensured the event’s resounding success.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to Pr. Luc Fabresse, Dr. Guillaume Lozenguez, and Julien Motetse from the Digital Systems Education Research and Innovation Center (CERI SN) for their unwavering commitment and exceptional contributions to the organization, which played a pivotal role in making this event such a resounding success.

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