SOURCE: Sierra Atlantic

June 15, 2009 11:10 ET

Indian Team Takes Bronze Medal at 2009 RoboGames

AcYut, the Only Indian Humanoid Robot to Compete in the Games, Takes India's First Medal for Annual Competition

SILICON VALLEY, CA--(Marketwire - June 15, 2009) - The AcYut-II robot, designed by students from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS Pilani), India, has won the bronze medal in the middle weight Humanoid category at the 2009 RoboGames (www.robogames.net) that were held in San Francisco on June 12-14. With this result the BITS Pilani team has won India's first medal ever for the annual competition. The RoboGames are the world's biggest open robot competition with over 250 teams participating from 28 different countries in 70 different competitive events. RoboGames is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as "The World's Largest Robot Competition."

The AcYut team from the Center for Robotics Intelligent Systems (CRIS) at BITS Pilani built their second humanoid, AcYut-II, after placing 6th at the 2008 competition from a group of 30 contenders. AcYut, which translated from Sanskrit means "the one who never falls," was the only Indian humanoid in RoboGames.

Returning team members, including team leader Samay Kohli and Sushma Vallabhaneni, were joined this year by Mohammad Ariz and Akash Gupta, who were selected from over 150 applications to join the 2009 AcYut team under the guidance of Professor Dr. R.K. Mittal. Following the games, the students will begin a three month research project at the University of Louisiana as part of Center for Robotics and Intelligent Systems, a joint initiative.

"Building cross-university alliances like CRIS allows academic research to flourish," said Dr. Krishna Saraswat, Rickey/Nielsen Professorship of Engineering at Stanford University who also works with the AcYut-II team. "The students from BITS Pilani who have committed themselves to the AcYut project are a part of the amazing community of researchers, academics and industry leaders who will bring humanoid robotics into our homes, hospitals and businesses."

Building a Better Robot

The team learned important lessons from last year and applied these for the 2009 competition. AcYut-II is taller than its predecessor and has a higher torque motor which enables it to punch harder. AcYut-II can move very quickly around corners, reducing its chances of falling out of the ring during a Kung Fu match. The students developed a bodysuit for controlling AcYut-II from a distance, allowing the robot to mimic the students' actions. This enables the robot to perform more complex moves instead of a limited set of pre-programmed moves that are possible with a hand-held remote.

"Their Robot was almost one meter tall and that is an amazing feat of engineering," said David Calkins, Founder of RoboGames. "The results show that the team clearly learned and adapted based on last year's competition, and proves that their collaborative approach bridging research in India and the U.S. works; the team should be proud."

AcYut was sponsored by companies including Force10Networks, Sierra Atlantic, Oriental Insurance and Continental Airlines and also received funding from the BITS Alumni Association (BITSAA).

Sierra Atlantic CEO Raju Reddy said, "BITS mandates real world experience for its four year degree and requires students to spend nine months in internship programs. With such innovative programs for industry-university collaboration, BITS has always been a source of great talent and we are delighted to partner in their success at RoboGames."

The BITS-Pilani Alumni Association is hosting a reception on June 16, 2009 at India Community Center (ICC) in Milpitas, Calif., where the students will demonstrate AcYut-II to media and thought leaders from the technology industry and academia. Press interested in attending should call Heather Lukens at 212-651-4227, or email her at heather.lukens@fusionpr.com.

About Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani/BITSAA

Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS Pilani), India's leading private university, has the reputation of setting the benchmark for industry-university collaboration and pioneering online examinations through the path-breaking BITS admission test. The University offers degrees in Engineering, Sciences, Business Administration, Economics, Humanities, languages and Arts at its campuses in Pilani, Dubai, Goa, and Hyderabad. In addition, BITS offers a number of work integrated learning programs for Human Resources Development that are utilized by a broad spectrum of Indian corporations. BITSAA is the not-for-profit alumni association of BITS, whose alumni are spread across the globe from Australia to America. Its mission is to enable alumni to initiate and participate in activities which contribute to the general development of BITS Pilani, its staff, and students. It also aims to strengthen the ties of friendship and communication amongst former students, current students, faculty, and friends of the University.

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