Student Competition to Focus on Unit Load Design

Feb. 4, 2010
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is recruiting university students to participate in its Virtual Manufacturing Automation Competition this May. NIST hopes to use the event to develop performance metrics for mixed pallets.

Teams of students will simulate robotic mixed palletizing using robotic algorithms, including perception of geometry, grasping and positioning and overall procedures for intelligently configuring unit loads.

“To participate, the teams need a computer gaming engine that is available for about $10,” says engineer Steve Balakirsky, adding that “from there, they can use existing computer code or create their own, to develop a simulation of a robot picking up boxes of various sizes and weights from a conveyor belt and arranging them on a pallet for shipping.”

The winning team will run part of the simulated task on a robot at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2010 in Anchorage, Alaska, in May 2010.

NIST, technology association IEEE and Georgia Tech are co-sponsoring the competition. The deadline for entries is Feb. 15.

Learn more about the competition.