Robot Lab Live returns for UK Festival of Robotics 2022: join UK’s top robotics research labs for exclusive live demos – Wednesday June 22nd, 4-6pm BST, UK Robotics YouTube Channel

Join UK's only mass simultaneous robotics livestream and explore cutting-edge innovation - from underwater inspection and farming robots to social assistive and space robots

London, United Kingdom, May 13th 2022—The EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (UK-RAS) Network is offering unique access to live demos from some of the UK's top robotics research teams at this year's Robot Lab Live - the UK's only mass simultaneous robotics livestream event (Wednesday 22nd June 2022, 4-6pm, live on YouTube). Robot Lab Live 2022 is a highlight event of the UK Festival of Robotics, and the trailer is available online now at the UK Robotics YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/ukrobotics


Robot Lab Live is a one-of-a-kind virtual robotics showcase, hosted by the ESPRC UK-RAS Network, and featuring 12 of the UK's top robotics labs. Now in its second year, this hotly-anticipated event brings cutting-edge robotics technology to audiences around the globe. Viewers can watch live from anywhere in the world and flick between different demos during the two-hour livestream, with the opportunity to ask questions and interact directly with the researchers. The event is free to access, but participants are encouraged to subscribe now to the UK Robotics YouTube channel and set a reminder for the livestreams.

Featured demos this year will include:

- Smart drones working together to achieve a task - from delivering a package to performing acrobatics
- Edible and biodegradable soft robots of the future - eating a robot live on camera!
- Searching for underwater treasure in a remote inspection mission using a subsea robot
- Fleets of intelligent robots assisting fruit pickers in the field
- Virtual visit to a real robot research house to explore social human-robot interaction and assistive technologies
- Motion capture suit controlling two robot dogs as they cook and assemble a burger
- Soft robots made from fabric that can grow and move through tight spaces for use in extreme environments
- How humans react physiologically to working together with robots on manual tasks like drilling and heavy lifting
- Snake-like robots navigating through an aeroplane engine for fast inspection and repair
- Telepresence technology allowing humans to perform everyday tasks for both work and play remotely through a robot controlled from another continent
- The Tortoise and the Worm: a worm-inspired soft robot challenges a traditional hard robot (TurtleBot) to complete an obstacle course
- Space robots performing skilled tasks used for satellite repairs and upgrades, such as in-orbit docking and assembling space mirrors

Commenting on the livestream, EPSRC UK-RAS Network Chair Professor Robert Richardson said: "We knew from the exceptional response to Robot Lab Live last year, when we ran it for the first time, that we simply had to bring it back for our 2022 Festival. There really is no other event quite like it, taking people directly into the UK's cutting-edge robotics research laboratories in such an immersive and immediate way. From subsea inspection robots to fleets of smart drones, we're hugely looking forward to showcasing this exciting technology in action, and to giving people all over the world the chance to engage with these fascinating projects, and the talented researchers that are driving the next generation of robotics and autonomous systems innovation."

Robot Lab Live debuted in 2021 as a key event of the UK Festival of Robotics - a 7-day celebration of robotics and intelligent systems held at the end of June. This annual celebration is hosted by the EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (UK-RAS) Network, which provides academic leadership in robotics and coordinates activities at over 30 partner universities across the UK.

For more information about Robot Lab Live, please visit: https://www.ukras.org.uk/robotics-week/robot-lab-live/

For more information about the UK Festival of Robotics, please visit: https://www.ukras.org.uk/robotics-week

Join in on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ukrobotics

#RobotLabLive #RobotFest #UKFR

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Notes to editors:

Meet the Teams

Intelligent Robots for Fresh Fruit Harvesting
Agri-Food Robotics - University of Lincoln

Harvesting fruit crops is physically and mentally demanding, but robots can assist pickers to make crop production more sustainable by helping with physical tasks such as transporting picked crop to local storage facilities. With humans at the centre, we will demonstrate how fleets of robots can help multiple fruit pickers all working in parallel in a field environment. Intelligent robots can also help with decision making by automated and frequent monitoring of crop status (e.g., its maturity). This information aids agronomists in prescribing specific crop treatment or in forecasting future yield leading to more optimal and sustainable crop production.

Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems Research: lcas.lincoln.ac.uk/wp/

Smart Drones Swarm Together
Autonomous Aerial Robot Lab - Cranfield University

Drones have become increasingly popular thanks to their wide range of potential applications such as aerial inspection, search-and-rescue, deliveries, agriculture, and of course fun! However, these applications bring drones into complex and rapidly evolving, dynamic environments close to humans, and it's crucial they're able to operate safely. In this demonstration, we will show three scenarios when smart drones help each other to fulfil different tasks safely. Namely, we will have a look at drones delivering a package, playing ball and performing acrobatics. If we could have drones collaborating more with humans, would they make our lives better?

Cranfield University: www.cranfield.ac.uk

Tasty Hands: Edible and Biodegradable Soft Robots of the Future!
Bio-Inspired Robotics Lab - University of Cambridge

We will introduce a gelatin-glycerol hydrogel material which exhibits soft properties similar to silicone but is also conductive, biodegradable and edible! We will show how the development of this material was enabled by modern additive manufacturing techniques by 3D printing it live on camera. You'll get to see its deformable and conductive properties in pre-made soft wearable devices and sensors. We will then demonstrate the material's edible and biodegradable properties by making a robot dip a strawberry in melted chocolate followed by biting into the robot's gripper. You read that right, we will eat a robot live on camera!

Bio-inspired robotics lab: birlab.org

Aquatic Robot Treasure Hunt
Roboquarium - The National Robotarium

A lucky viewer will be asked to find the underwater treasure hidden on the structure by carrying out a remote inspection mission to explore the environment using a subsea inspection robot. Viewers will also be able to scroll around and view the world from the robot's perspective, just as an operator would when carrying out off-shore inspection missions. Try to find the treasure alongside the operator!

The National Robotarium: www.hw.ac.uk/uk/research/the-national-robotarium.htm

A Visit to Robot House
Robot House - University of Hertfordshire

We welcome viewers to virtually visit the Robot House at the University of Hertfordshire and experience what human-robot interaction research in a domestic environment can look like. You will be part of a situation where someone living in the house welcomes a friend for a cup of tea and to tour the house together. During that, you can observe, from different perspectives, how our robots use their capabilities in interaction with humans and you can learn how robots might be able to provide people with social, physical, and cognitive support in their daily lives.

Robot House: robothouse.herts.ac.uk

Remote Control Burger Crafting Using Two Robot Dogs
Real Robotics Lab - University of Leeds

Remotely controlling a robotic system from a distance, whether it be in a different room or country, has always been a difficult task. In this demonstration, we will show how a motion capture suit - such as the ones used in animation film-making - can be used to control two robot dogs to perform the fairly dexterous task of cooking and assembling a burger. The two robots both carry a robotic arm, and all will be controlled simultaneously from a single pilot to cook fresh ingredients into a fully edible burger, all without having to step into the kitchen.

Real Robotics Lab: www.realrobotics.co.uk/

Soft Growing Robots for Extreme Environments
Centre for Advanced Robotics - Queen Mary University of London

We will demonstrate soft robots made from fabric that can grow from their tip like a growing vine. These so-called "eversion robots" come in a variety of different sizes, so you'll get to see a soft robot growing tens of metres in length, as well as similar designs smaller than a human finger. In addition to the robot, we will show how a tiny size fabric-based eversion robot, can be used as gripper or glove. Through these live demonstrations, we'll show you the wide range of applications for soft materials and draw attention to textiles as a robotic material.

Centre for Advanced Robotics: www.saphir-qmul.com/

Getting to Grips with How People React to Robots
Intelligent Automation Lab - Cranfield University

Robot co-workers are becoming more common in many sectors. In this demo, we'll show how humans and robots can work together on manual tasks like drilling or moving heavy objects. Our volunteers aren't very familiar with robotics, so we'll be monitoring their heart rate, eye-movements and skin conductivity as they work. You'll get to see how their vital signs change as they interact with the robotic assistant, and afterwards we'll hear how they felt during the demonstration and what they would like to change before co-working with this type of robot in the future.

The Intelligent Automation Lab: www.cranfield.ac.uk/centres/centre-for-structures-assembly-and-intelligent-automation

Snake-Like Robots for Fast Aeroplane Engine Inspection and Repair
Rolls-Royce UTC - The University of Nottingham

When an aeroplane engine needs servicing or repairs, it can be a delicate and expensive process. In this demo, we will show how a snake-like robot can be used to inspect a real Rolls-Royce aeroplane engine. The robot will be driven in a very challenging environment by a joystick while a camera at the tip will guide the user (a public can be trained to use it in few minutes!) to navigate to the required location of intervention. In addition, we would like to share with the audience our journey in developing snake-like robots in the last 15 years.

Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre: www.nottingham.ac.uk/utc/index.aspx

Telepresence: The Future of Work (and Play)
Sheffield Robotics - The University of Sheffield

We will give audiences a peek at the future of remote work and healthcare with a demonstration of advanced remote telepresence. A robot in Sheffield, UK will be controlled from another continent through an immersive, intuitive VR interface, showing how easy it will be to have a physical presence in a remote location. More than just video conferencing calls we are all used to, we will show how you can be in another place and perform everyday tasks through a robot with ease.

Sheffield Robotics: www.sheffield.ac.uk/sheffieldrobotics

The Tortoise and the Worm: An Obstacle Course Challenge Between Hard and Soft Robots
Soft Robot Wormery - Edinburgh Centre for Robotics

Soft robots, although unconventional in form and motion, could save the day in case of a disaster. In this demo we're going to show you our worm-inspired soft robot called Wayne. We'll give you a closer look at the inner workings of Wayne and we'll show you the advantages and potential applications of robots like Wayne compared to a traditional hard robot, TurtleBot, when faced with different obstacles. You'll even get a chance to challenge Wayne yourself by designing obstacles out of Lego Duplo bricks!

Edinburgh Centre for Robotics: www.edinburgh-robotics.org/

Servicing Satellites: Robotics for Space Repairs and Manufacture
STAR Lab - University of Surrey

When your car needs a service, you take it to a mechanic, but what happens when a satellite needs repairs or upgrades? In this demo, you'll get to see some of the robotic technologies that can perform remote repairs and upgrades in space, such as deep-learning based pose estimation, robotic manipulation and grasping that can be used for tasks like in-orbit docking and assembly of space mirrors.

STAR Lab: www.surrey.ac.uk/surrey-space-centre/research-groups/star-lab

About the EPSRC UK-RAS Network (https://www.ukras.org.uk)

The EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network (UK-RAS Network) is dedicated

to robotics innovation across the UK, with a mission to provide academic leadership in

Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), expand collaboration with industry, and integrate

and coordinate activities at eight Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

(EPSRC)-funded RAS capital facilities and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) across the

country.


PRESS CONTACT:
Nicky Denovan
EvokedSet
Email: nicky[@]evokedset[dot]com
Phone: +44 (0) 118 328 2782

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