Tottori University landscape photography

Team of Tottori University and engineers from TOSHIBA scored high at Amazon Robotics Challenge 2017

Group Photo of Team T2

 At Amazon Robotics Challenge 2017 (organizer: Amazon Robotics LLC), an international robot competition which took place at Nagoya International Exhibition Hall (Portmesse Nagoya) from 27 - 30 July 2017, Prof. Iwai, Assoc. Prof. Nishiyama and their students from Graduate School of Engineering joined engineers from TOSHIBA to take part in the competition as Team T2. The school, primarily in charge of image recognition function, developed a deep-learning technology to identify different types of objects stored in a warehouse based on images taken by a camera. Led by Mr. Koki Ueno, a fourth-year student in Undergraduate School, the student members from Media Understanding Laboratory engaged in the research and development as one team.

 The Competition consists of Stow Task, in which robots are asked to correctly identify and store products, and Pick Task, where robots must pick up ten designated items out of 32 different items and place them in designated boxes. Winners are determined by the total scores of the two tasks. During the Stow Task on the 28th, the venue was filled with applauds and cheers every time a robot picked an item. At the Pick Task on the 29th, Team T2 robot successfully picked six items.

 Team T2 ranked at the 8th of 16 teams, which was the highest among Japanese teams taking part in the Pick Task. With the total score of Stow and Pick Tasks ranked at 10th, it nearly made it to the final round competed among eight teams. According to Assoc. Prof. Nishiyama, "Student members enjoyed the precious opportunity to work together as a team towards one goal. Immediately before the start of the tasks, they witnessed how corporate engineers solve seemingly impossible problems with professional skills while enjoying the process. I am glad that the university's research activities made a valuable contribution to the project with the image recognition function. We aspire to further polish our technical skills."

The robot arm by Team T2 is correctly picking up an item.

Demonstration experiments for a "Smart 2nd fertilizer application system"

Prof. Morimoto and a "Smart Fertilization System"

 On 25 July 2017, the laboratory of Assoc. Prof. MORIMOTO, Department of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, conducted demonstration experiments for a “Smart 2nd fertilizer application system”, following those for a smart rice transplanter. Equipped with technologies to allow users to accumulate expertise through operations that capitalize on IoT, this system will add a new page to paddy farming.

 Utilizing a tractor, this system immediately judges the growing conditions of rice plants by checking the leaf colors of rice plants using an infrared sensor. The system is designed so that fertilizers are discharged from ten holes on a cylinder extended sideways like a wing, and it identifies its location using GPS and sprays fertilizers on rows of rice plants that are 15 meter wide each at one time. Conventional fertilization work was time-consuming and required hard labor, and the burden of farmers was significant. The experiments on this day were conducted in paddy fields of about 1.7 ha and completed in about an hour.

 Aiming to commercialize the agricultural equipment installed with this smart fertilizer application system by the end of next year, we will engage in further experiments.

Demonstration Experiments