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Robot that cleans navy ship wins contest

According to a recent report, this year’s winning idea in the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney’s Maker Games is a robot that cleans and paints a navy ship while in dry docks.

On its second year, the Maker Games Final Showcase wowed the audience with prototypes made by budding engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs and designers to solve real-world problems set by industry partners.

The event winners responded to the challenge set by their mentor from a company from the defence industry to come up with a way to make the cleaning and painting of naval warships a cheaper, safer and more efficient process.

Months of brainstorming led the team to emerge with the idea of an Autonomous Magnetic Attraction Robot (AMAR).

The robot is designed using magnets to attach to the side of a steel vessel. High pressure water, which was simulated with hose nozzles and paints, were added in order to be used for cleaning and painting the ship.

AMAR was showcased to the judges by being put through its paces in a simulation of the robot working on a ship’s exterior.

The robot appeared to be a compact, flat box on four discreet wheels.

It is about the size of a dinner tray that moved autonomously back and forth along a makeshift ship’s hull, which was set up on stage at an acute angle.

Conventional cleaning and painting of a naval ship involves having the vessel lifted into dry dock while many maintenance workers toiled in often dangerous conditions in a long and arduous process that costs A$ 250,000 a day.

AMAR would require only one person per device to oversee its operation.

It will not only eliminate the danger on maintenance workers, but it will also reduce the maintenance bill by millions of dollars per ship.

The winners will be flown to California’s Silicon Beach, the tech hub of the western beach suburbs of Los Angeles.

While there, they will network with leading engineering and design organisations over the course of one week.

The runner-up responded to the challenge of finding an easier way to stop grass from interfering with solar panels in an outdoor installation at ground level where panels were just 200mm above the ground.

Their solution was to design a new kind of autonomous lawn mower. This one was wider, flatter and had three sensors.

It was impressive how each of the 14 groups zeroed in on the mechanical, digital, electrical or computational requirements to arrive at highly original solutions to these real-world problems.

This represents the very best UNSW as an exemplar of generosity and partnership. It is a wonderful example of people coming together.

Some of the highlights of the events include seeing students who did not place on the winners’ podium to still walk away with some great industry connections.

There were students who have already received an internship offer because of the event. There were also industry players who wanted to immediately negotiate Intellectual Property (IP).

Meanwhile, external companies have expressed an interest in working with specific student teams.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,800 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service. For more information, visit www.ibm.com