MassRobotics teamed with partner Analog Devices (ADI) to offer the ADI Real-time Sensor Fusion Challenge designed to help accelerate innovation in easier-to-build modular robotics systems with ADI sensing, communications, signal processing and power management technologies.

We sought creative robotics solutions for mobility, wellness, the future factory and other cyber-physical systems where sensor data is fused to create real-time context awareness, allowing robots to integrate into the systems and environment around them.

We were joined by additional MassRobotics partners with similar interest and all contributed to the judging, mentoring and prizes. Thank you to Mitsubishi Electric, Solidworks, FedEx, Sick and Arrow for joining us.

This pilot challenge kicked off last fall with informational sessions and visits to many local universities and discussions with the MassRobotics startup community as well as meetings with the overall robotics ecosystem companies in Massachusetts.

Nine qualified teams were selected to compete over the course of nine months. Teams received an allowance for components and were assigned mentors. There were scheduled check-ins with their ADI Pit Crews and challenge judges.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, our grand finale and showcase was held in the form of an online celebration. A day of presentations and questions was held and included the following teams:

• Actuated Robotics Guidance System (walker): students from Brown University, Steve Kim (in Korea), Mckenna Cisler
• Human Aware Projection mapping for robot intention: students from University of Massachusetts Lowell Zhao Han, Jordan Allspaw
• Grab-n-Go retail startup: Peter Haas
• Thermal and RGB-D sensor fusion for action maps: students from Brown University, Ifrah Idrees, Eric Rosen
• Human Intent detection for control of hand orthosis: students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Dhruv Kool Rajamani, Raunak Hosangadi
• Development of an assistive lower limb exoskeleton: student from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Nate Goldfarb
• Robot for Power line safety: startup, You Wu, Elan Pavlov
Cleo Robotics startup: Simon Czarnota

ALL teams made great progress with lessons learned and knowledge shared – which is really what this challenge was all about! Winners of the challenge were announced during an online celebration.

Congratulations to the Brown University team working on the Actuated Robotics Guidance System for a Walker. They not only received the $30K cash prize from ADI and $10K from Mitsubishi Electric – their patent application has been accepted and is pending issue. More information about their project can be found here.

The runner-up winner and recipient of a $10K cash prize from ADI went to the Human Intent detection for control of hand orthosis team of students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

This was an amazing pilot program. It was started by three people with an idea. We collected five partner companies to join us. We visited universities and pitched to the MassRobotics member start-ups. Nine qualified teams competed, and eight teams made it to the final presentation. One team was granted a patent in the process and one team had their patent application accepted! We recruited support and enabled customer-facing experiences for young engineers at ADI. We were faced with lab closures and work from home social distancing, so we went virtual and had an incredible celebration with partner members and VIPs speaking about collaboration accelerating learning. We awarded prizes and everybody made great contacts.! We look forward to continuing and growing this challenge in the future.