UNLV Engineering Team Finalist in $ 10 Million Global Competition


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – The future is being assembled piece by piece at UNLV. A human-like robot developed by engineering students is attracting worldwide attention.

In fact, the team has just progressed into global competition and has been selected among 15 teams across the world to compete next fall. $ 10 million is at stake.

Hubo is a robot developed by the UNLV robotics team.

Meet the Hubo avatar. Standing at five feet five inches and weighing 175 pounds, this robot looks quite like a Hollywood movie. Inside the UNLV Robotics Lab, the real stars are those who have dedicated years to this revolutionary technology.

“So many late nights in this lab. So many weekends. So many days, ”said Nicolas Kosanovic, robotics laboratory researcher.

“There are always improvements,” said Dr. Jean Chagas Vass, chief engineer and team captain. “My ultimate goal is to have, say, a firefighter who can play as the robot and do the same job, but in a safe place. “

Everything is possible with this special haptic combination.

“I am able to feel any touch applied to the robot,” Kosanovic said.

whether it’s a light touch or something with force.

“It varies depending on how much pressure you decide to put on the robot,” he added.

And a special virtual reality headset allows the wearer to see what Hubo sees.

“Because it uses two cameras, it creates a stereographic view much like our eyes operate,” Kosanovic said.

This helps with depth perception which allows for more realistic movement.

“It tracks the movement of the arm and then sends that data to the actual robot arm,” said Nathan Kassai, chief intubation engineer.

There is no controller. There are no cables. Avatar Hubo is unlimited in his movement. Chagas Vaz says the implications for this type of technology are endless. As for the immediate future, his team will focus on developing Hubo’s fine motor skills.

“Handle and move at the same time. It’s a very complicated task for a robot, ”explains Chagas Vaz.

And while you can kiss and greet Hubo and share emotions through the avatar screen, don’t worry, bots aren’t taking over the world – just yet.

“No, we are not trying to make robots take over the world, but rather we are trying to improve the way of life,” said Chagas Vaz.

The team said that one of the things they will need to accomplish for the global competition is to walk and hold the hand of avatar Hubo.