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  • REZERO: Ball bot - Robotics with the Swiss finesse

    FROM drones capable of autonomous flights to robots carrying out complex industrial operations, the uses and applications of robotics are growing phenomenally, and so are the new jobs being created by the increasingly sought- after discipline.

    With the underlying message, two engineering students of Switzerland’s Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zurich) were in the Capital some time back to plan ways to collaborate with their Indian peers and to popularise robotics research here. With them they brought Rezero, the dynamic ball-bot (or a mobile robot designed to balance itself on a single spherical wheel) that they had designed as part of class project along with 11 other classmates.

    University & Industry collaboration for Robotics research

    “In Switzerland, 80 per cent of research in science and technology is done by companies and 20 per cent by universities, which creates a strong partnership between the two,” says Martin Strub, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Switzerland.

    Robotic research is one such area of collaboration between industry and academia, so it creates opportunities for both faculty members and the students.” The Institute of Robotics at ETH offers a Master’s in Robotics, Systems and Control, a multi-disciplinary programme drawing on the strengths of mechanical and electrical engineering as well as computer science.

    The programme enables students to develop innovative and intelligent products and systems to address real- world such as energy deficit, environment protection, health care and mobility. Rezero is one such product that the robotics students at ETH have developed.

    REZERO - the Ball bot!

    “When we started working on Rezero, we focused more on technology than on applications. It took us eight months to bring this robot to its present form,” explained Thomas Kammermann, one of the undergraduate students visiting India.

    In future, Rezero can be used in hospitals to carry medicines, by the physically challenged to move around, and by people engaged in emergency operations to transport equipment.

    The ETH students are already working on modifications required by the ball-boat. They have already presented the ball-bot at prestigious gatherings such as the Swiss Innovation Forum, TEDx Zurich and Swisstech, and they were in California with their creation before coming to India.

    Asked why the students brought Rezero all the way to India, one of them, Jerome Kaesar, replied, “We are looking at possibilities of collaborative work in robotic science. India offers great potential in this field. The IITs produce world-class engineers and scientists, so coming to India was a natural choice.” The Swiss Embassy had organised this event to promote academic collaboration among Indian and Swiss institutions.

    “We already have strong research ties- ups with India. The Indo-Swiss Joint Research Programme supports cuttingedge research that brings together faculty and students from Switzerland and India,” Strub said.

    “Robotics is a very appealing academic and research area,” he added. “ Indian students can do very well in this field, because they look at things differently and robotics is all about innovations.” It’s time you proved Strub right.

    Rezero on Youtube

    Article source: Mail Today