Robotics Competition: Demonstrate your skills at the Mobile Manipulation Hackathon at IROS 2021

Mobile Manipulation Hackathon (MMH) at IROS 2021 with TIAGo robot

About IROS (IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems)

At PAL Robotics we strongly believe in robotics competitions, and in recent years have taken part in and supported a number of competitions, including the Mobile Manipulation Hackathon, RoboCup, and The European Robotics League. The importance of robotics competitions (also known as robotics hackathons) to research teams is clear- the fun learning experience that comes with working in groups and meeting the challenge of delivering new developments under the pressure of a competition environment. Competitions and their legacy are also important to the future of robotics, as they create a setting that’s key to enabling new development and innovation. 

This year we are proud to be organisers of the Mobile Manipulation Hackathon at IROS 2021 (The International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems) together with the IEEE-RAS TC on Mobile Manipulation and Maximo Roa of the German Aerospace Center, with Ocado Technology, Robotic Materials Inc. and IROS as event sponsors. The Mobile Manipulation Hackathon will take place within IROS 2021 as a remote competition. This hackathon provides an opportunity for participants to experiment with a mobile manipulation robot, and demonstrate their research to the wider community. Researchers will have the chance to integrate their contributions into TIAGo the mobile manipulator (this could be software and/or hardware integrations such as sensors) and to perform a live remote demonstration at IROS 2021. 

Mobile manipulation is gaining in popularity, with a growing number of use cases, including in manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics. For mobile manipulation robots to work effectively in these areas, complex skills need to be developed, including advanced skills in manipulation, in addition to other areas such as perception and navigation, path planning, and HRI (Human-Robot Interaction). A major challenge in a robotics hackathon is to successfully combine a number of these skills to increase the robot’s capabilities to accomplish a particular set of tasks.  

TIAGo and TIAGo++ are ready to help you compete at the Mobile Manipulation Hackathon robotics competition 2021, and help you showcase your developments in a live setting!

IROS will be held between 27 September and 1 October 2021, both in Prague and online, as a virtual event. The IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) is a premier flagship academic conference in robotics. For 30-years, IROS has showcased leading-edge research and continues to be a place to learn future directions and the latest approaches, designs, and outcomes. The organisation will provide free entrance to the finalist teams that participate in the Mobile Manipulation Hackathon. 

PAL Robotics’ TIAGo and TIAGo++ robots

Hackathon participants will be able to extend the capabilities of PAL Robotics’ TIAGo and TIAGo++ robots by integrating their developments. TIAGo and TIAGo++ robots are provided out-of-the-box with capabilities in navigation, motion planning, perception, and HRI. The robots are endowed with 7 DoF arms, a liftable torso, and a pan-tilt head.

TIAGo stands for “Take It And Go!” and fields of application for TIAGo include Factories of the Future, Smart Cities and IoT, Ambient Assisted Living, and Healthcare. The TIAGo mobile manipulation arm has a large manipulation workspace, being able to reach the ground as well as high shelves. TIAGo++ is a dual-armed version of the TIAGo robot. TIAGo is based on Ubuntu and uses ROS as middleware so it’s easy to integrate your own packages. PAL Robotics also offers multiple public packages you can find in public repositories, see more in GitHub

Extra sensors, devices, tools, and end-effectors can be easily integrated into the robot and connected via its expansion panel. This platform is currently used by multiple teams in competitions, a large number of collaborative research projects, and is one of the most used robots for research in universities and innovation centers around the world.

The robotics hackathon requirement is that the participants integrate their contributions into a mobile bi/manipulation system (TIAGo or TIAGo++) to show its current capabilities or extend/enhance the robot. We accept software integrations, such as new use case applications or manipulation planners, and new hardware integrations, such as, for example, sensors or actuators for the robot. Participants will be able to integrate their contributions first in simulation, which will later be implemented onto the real robot with onsite and/or remote support by PAL Robotics engineers.

TIAGo and TIAGo++ are open source robots with extensive documentation available in Wiki ROS. Find out more here.

TIAGo and TIAGo++ are also available on Docker. Docker is a platform for developers to develop, deploy, and run applications with containers. Find out more here. 

Read our blog about the previous Hackathon and take a look at recent footage of the robotics competition Manipulation Hackathon event here:

How to take part in the robotics competition Mobile Manipulation Hackathon

The competition is open to teams from Academic, Research, or Industrial Organizations interested in mobile manipulation.

Submit an application: deadline 16 July 2021

The first step is submitting an application to the advisory committee. This should consist of a document (maximum. 5 pages) supported by videos, simulations and/or technical documents.

Announcement of six finalists: 26 July 2021

Six finalist teams will demonstrate their applications. PAL Robotics will offer the finalists up to one week of training, integration, and testing of their solution on the TIAGo/TIAGo++ robots at PAL Robotics’ offices in Barcelona. 

Support for teams in Barcelona: September 2021

At PAL Robotics we offer support in our Barcelona offices for integrating developments onto TIAGo and TIAGo++, as well as remote support for teams not able to travel to Barcelona.

IROS event: 27 Sept – 1 Oct 2021 

The Mobile Manipulation Hackathon final during IROS 2021 gives the chance for teams to show final developments in a real environment. The Advisory Committee will evaluate the demos performed during IROS 2021 and prizes will be awarded for the first three places. 

The Technical Committee of Mobile Manipulation and Co-chairs of the technical Committee are:

  • Georgia Chalvatzaki, TU Darmstadt
  • Mehmet Dogar, University of Leeds
  • Nikolaus Correll, University of Colorado 
  • Kensuke Harada, Osaka University
  • Roberto Martin-Martin, Stanford University

The PAL Robotics organisers are:

  • Francesco Ferro, PAL Robotics 
  • Carlos Vivas, PAL Robotics 
  • Jordi Pagès, PAL Robotics 

The organising committee is:

  • Carlos Vivas, PAL Robotics 
  • Maximo A. Roa, German Aerospace Center

Generous cash prizes will be awarded by competition sponsors to the winning hackathon teams. This robotics hackathon is sponsored by Ocado Technology and Robotic Materials Inc (RM) and IROS. 

To learn more about robotics, visit our blog and, if you have any question or doubt, reach us out at our contact page.

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