LARICS featured on Croatian national television

treci_elementLARICS was featured in Treći element, a popular science talk show on March 2nd. In a 45-minute show, hosts of the show were joined by our professors Stjepan Bogdan and Zdenko Kovačić in the studio where they gave insights on some of the most burning questions general population might have about robotics. The show also incorporated the footage from the robotics laboratories at FER (LARICS, LABUST, LAMOR) where researchers demonstrated and elaborated on their work.

FER day at MIOC

fer_miocFER day was held at XV. gymnasium (MIOC) in Zagreb on March 2nd to introduce school’s students to activities and laboratories at FER. LARICS was represented with a booth where we had a Nao robot performing its usual dance routine and wowing the audience, and a Pioneer demonstrating its SLAM abilities to the students. Our colleagues from LABUST represented subCULTron project with an aPad and two aMussels, bringing attention to another aspect of robotics.

LARICS at Night of Museums

LARICS was represented in this year’s Night of Museumsnight of museums in Zagreb, larics lab as a part of the program in the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU) library. Our dancing Nao robots demonstrated their capabilities to the audience, some of them were even reading texts from HAZU’s digital collection.

The Night of Museums is a cultural event held across Croatia in which entry to museums and cultural institutions is free, and they stay open to the early hours of the morning introduce themselves to new potential patrons.

The first Long Night of Museums took place in Berlin in 1997. The concept has been very well received, and since then the number of participating institutions and exhibitions has risen dramatically, spreading to over 120 other cities throughout Europe, as well as elsewhere, in Argentina and the Philippines.

It started in Zagreb in 2005 as a pilot project with 6 museums. In 2011, there were more than 300,000 visitors. In 2015, 260,000 people turned up to visit over 200 museums and other cultural institutions in 100 cities and towns.

FIRST LEGO League at FER

15940758_1830404410547092_3171236138417000760_nFor the first time FIRST LEGO League was held in Croatia, at FER on January 14th 2017. The league runs for 18 years and is held in 80 countries around the world, and thanks to organization of Croatian Robotic Association, Croatia is one of them. During the opening ceremony NAO robot performed one of his distinctive dances and wowed the audience.

Competition consists of multiple parts (core values, scientific project, robot game, mechanical design) and our Prof. Zdenko Kovačić and Barbara Arbanas were the judges of the technical part. This year 11 teams of children aged 9-16 applied and we expect even more in the upcoming years!

subCULTron “feature freeze” workshop at FER

IMG_4105LARICS and LABUST organized H2020 project subCULTron workshop under the title of “stress test workshop” at UNIZG FER on 9 – 13 January 2017 with all project partners representatives.

Overall goal of the workshop was to feature freeze new electronic design for mass production of 100+ aMussel units. Extensive testing on three newly produced aMussels in the pool as well as out of it validated the design and provided us with the data to make minor adjustments before taking the next step.

Winter school on AI and Robotics

IMG_3798Barbara Arbanas attended “Lucia 2016 – 3nd PhD school on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics”, held in Örebro, Sweden on December 12-16, 2016. The school provided a unique training and human experience. Lecture topics covered technologies at the forefront of research in AI and in Robotics, while some of these were applied through hands-on exercises on real robots. It also showed to be the opportunity to discuss the research work with top level scholars as well as other students, and to extend networks. Barbara also presented project subCULTron in an interactive poster session.

subCULTron review meeting

DSC02800First subCULTron review meeting was held in Zagreb on 28th of September. In the meeting participated our Prof. Bogdan and Assoc. Prof. Nikola Mišković from LABUST.

As a part of the meeting, we played a live demo for the reviewers which validated all of the efforts put into the project so far. Demo team consisted of LARICS (Tamara Petrović, Goran Vasiljević, Barbara Arbanas) and LABUST members (Anja Babić, Ivan Lončar), accompanied by Daniel Moser from UNIGRAZ. All of the tasks within the demo  (autonomous docking, inductive charging of aMussels via aPad, environmental monitoring task, SMS communication, tweeting) were a complete success.

subCULTron testing the first ten aMussels

IMG_2948The subCULTron team had yet another successful workshop and general assembly in the first week of September 2016. This workshop was dedicated to reliability testing of first batch of ten aMussels. The workshop was held at the Brodarski Institute, Zagreb. The main focus of this workshop was to prepare for upcoming review and to identify possible weaknesses. Various tests such as autonomous docking, diving, interacting with humans via SMS, twitter etc were tested with very encouraging results.

New book chapter on optimal trajectory planning for multiple unmanned vehicles published by Elsevier Inc.

We are pleased to announce that the book chapter “Trajectory Planning Based on Collocation Methods for Adaptive Motion Control of Multiple Aerial and Ground Autonomous Vehicles” co-authored by S. Vera, F. Petric, G. Heredia, A. Ollero, and Z. Kovacic has been just published in the book Control of Complex Systems, Editor(s): K. G. Vamvoudakis and J. Sarangapani, Elsevier Inc., pp. 575-624, 2016 (available on-line: DOI:10.1016/B978-0-12-805246-4.00001-X).

In this chapter we describe a centralized method of optimal trajectory planning for multiple unmanned vehicles based on the recently concluded research and development processes in the European FP7 project named EC-SAFEMOBIL. The method can be used with aerial or ground vehicles, as well as in mixed scenarios with aerial and ground vehicles.

LARICS at the 1st Conference on Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Bjelovar

Prof. Zdenko Kovacic and Frano Petric participated as presenters at the Conference on Education, Innovation and Enterpreneurship organized by the Technical College in Bjelovar, Croatia. Prof. Kovacic held a lecture entitled “Autism and autism diagnostics with a robot evaluator”. Frano conducted a demonstration workshop “A robot as a friend”.

New book chapter on automated warehousing systems published by ASTM International

We are pleased to announce that the book chapter “Harmonization of Research and Development Activities Toward Standardization in the Automated Warehousing Systems” co-authored by Z. Kovačić, M. Butler, P. Lista, G. Vasiljević, I. Draganjac, D. Miklić, T. Petrović, and F. Petric has been just published in the book Autonomous Industrial Vehicles: From the Laboratory to the Factory Floor, Editor(s): R. Bostelman (NIST); E. Messina, ASTM International, pp. 106-128, April 2016 (available on-line: DOI:10.1520/STP159420150050).

In this chapter, we describe some ideas of robotic system standardization based on the recently concluded research and development processes in the FP7 project EC-SAFEMOBIL, which was focused on estimation and control technologies for safe, wireless, high-mobility cooperative systems. In the given analysis of possible standardization of automated warehousing systems, we elaborate on ideas on how to overcome evident gaps between academic achievements and viable industry practice. Paying particular attention to process and development standards, as well as function-specific standards, we describe our view of reaching new standards in automated warehousing systems, particularly with a number of deployed automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

Nao robots at the 11th Croatian Exporters ceremony

LARICS hrvatski izvnznici 2016 zlatni ključLARICS participated in the the annual 11th Croatian Exporters ceremony with two Nao robots opening the program as presenters. Our friends from LAMOR joined us with their Kinova Jaco arm, which revealed the Golden Key awards for the best exporters and handed the envelopes with awardee names. The ceremony took place in the Crystal Ballroom of the Westin hotel in Zagreb.

Goran Vasiljevic defended the topic of his doctoral dissertation

In front of the assessment committee (Prof. Stjepan Bogdan, Prof. Zdenko Kovacic, and Prof. Ivana Palunko), LARICS PhD student Goran vasiljevic mentored by Prof. Kovacic successfully presented and defended the topic of his doctoral dissertation entitled „High precision markerless localization of mobile robots in indoor industrial environments“. The Committee agreed upon expected scientific contributions and thereafter, the Faculty Council and the Technical Committee of the University of Zagreb should still approve the given topic proposal.

LARICS featured in Jutarnji list

On May 23rd, Jutarnji list, one of the most prominent Croatian newspapers published an article about the subCULTron project. Featured on the front page, it encompasses an 242extensive interview with our own Prof. Stjepan Bogdan and Asst. Prof. Nikola Mišković from the Laboratory for Underwater Systems and Technologies, LABUST. The article provided a great visibility to the project and yielded many positive reactions. Other LARICS members working on the subCULTron project are Tamara Petrović, Goran Vasiljević and Barbara Arbanas.

Limited time open access to LARICS paper to be published in Robotics and Computer-integrated Manufacturing journal

Paper “High-accuracy vehicle localization for autonomous warehousing”, written by Goran Vasiljevic, Damjan Miklic, Ivica Draganjac and prof. Zdenko Kovacic will be published in the Robotics and Computer-integrated Manufacturing journal. The paper presents the algorithm stack for high-precision autonomous vehicle localization, developed within FP7 EC-SAFEMOBIL project. The proposed methodology satisfies the industrial requirements for localization accuracy and has been verified by extensive experiments in realistic industrial conditions. Full paper can be accessed via the following link, which will be available until July 3, 2016.

LARICS at the Night of the Book event in the FER library

LARICS had a unique opportunity to participate in the “Night of the Book” event organized by the FER library dedicated to the 400th anniversary of W. Shakespeare’s birth. LARICS third-year undergraduate students (Brigita Vrbanec, Marko Kovacevic, Zvonimir Kunstek and Dominik Petrovic) played a scene from Karel Capek’s play R.U.R. together with NAO robots. Also, one of NAO robots demonstrated its ability to read Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” projected on the projection screen.

subCULTron project “throw in” workshop in Venice

DSC_0219LARICS members Tamara Petrović, Goran Vasiljević, Stjepan Bogdan and Barbara Arbanas participated in “throw in” workshop of project subCULTron, which was held in Italy. The first part of the workshop, which included the hardware and software integration, took place at the BioRobotics Institute of the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pontedera from the 4th to the 8th of April. Workshop concluded with field tests in the lagoons of Venice on the 11th of April.

During the workshop one aPad and several aMussel robots were assembled and tested. The workshop was a success and our team has already started redesign phase where we will make the hardware better for the upcoming review.

Visit of Prof. Takahashi from the University of Tokyo

Prof. Tomotaka Takahashi from the University of Tokyo made a short tour in Croatia visiting on his way the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing too. His lecture was attended by more than 500 people interested to hear one of the global celebrities in the world of robotics. Prof. Takahashi showed deep interest in the robotics projects conducted in three robotics laboratories at FER: LARICS, LABUST and LAMOR, emphasizing during his lecture that he was very pleased with what he was able to see. Frano Petric prepared one of NAO robots for the Tic-Tac-Toe match with Prof. Takahashi, which amused all people being present, including his excellency, ambassador Mr.Keiji Ide and secretary Mr. Ryohei Nakajima.

JOBSTEM laboratory visits

We were proud to host nearly three hundred elementary school students in our lab during the last few weeks. These visits were organized as experimental intervention within the JOBSTEM project, aimed towards determining how are STEM careers aspirations formed and how are these aspirations influenced by different factors such as gender, family characteristics and early exposure to the STEM field. During their visit to our laboratory, Barbara, Antun, Damjan and Frano introduced the students to basic concepts in robotics through our aerial, ground and humanoid robots.

Schneider Electric donated I/O modules for Modicon M238 PLCs

Our laboratory has received a valuable donation of Schneider Electric, Zagreb. We have got eight analog I/O modules as add-ons to the eight previously donated Modicon M238 PLCs. This donation will enable our students to solve complex control problems in their automation and robotics projects and laboratory exercises. We take this opportunity to thank Schneider Electric for their continuous support to the quality of education in these two vibrant areas.