MEET THE TOP 20 TEAMS
We are excited to highlight the top 20 teams that have qualified to compete in the Virtual Competition, June 13-16, 2017. You can stay updated on the teams' progress as they navigate this next phase of the Challenge by following #spaceroboticschallenge and #SRCTop20 on Twitter.
Good Luck Top 20!
Representing the three major cities in Texas (Houston, Dallas, Austin) are the members of team BIT PLEASE. This competition serves as a platform to build an understanding of modern robotics and computer science, and further pave the way for this evolving field into unchartered territory. Given the potential prize money allocated in this competition, the team is hoping to pay for college tuition and initiate more robotics and programming projects as a means of inspiring innovation outside of the classroom. BIT PLEASE team members are using this competition to acquire new knowledge and strategies as a tool to broaden our horizon on future real world implications the field of robotics holds.
Coordinated Robotics | @CoordRobotics
Coordinated Robotics is a one-man team from California that has previously competing in other robotics challenges. Because dexterous control of a robot requires coordination between sensors and actuators, the team name of Coordinated Robotics was formulated. Hoping to win prizes and learn more about humanoids, Coordinated Robotics will focus on manipulation of humanoids to excel in the competition.
Mingo Mountain Robotics
With a team name representing Mingo Mountain in Northeast Washington, this one-man team has previously competed in a robotics challenge. Also acting as a mentor for the First Robotics team 4980 of Kettle Falls High School, the individual has had extensive experience with networking and programming tools. Intending to use the prize money for some cool hardware if he is dubbed a finalist, the individual behind Mingo Mountain Robotics hopes to improve his robotics and math skills, and create innovative solutions for robotic control systems.
The six team members of MITs are staff of the advanced technology research and development center of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation in Japan. MITs love cutting-edge technologies such as robotics and space exploration. With expertise in AI reasoning algorithms and developing functioning robots, the team believes their extensive knowledge of robotics will allow expandability and increased interaction between humans and humanoids, despite their communication differences. Although the MITs are not eligible for the prize money, they hope the challenge will provide them with a legitimate sample case regarding how autonomy technology will be used in the future of space missions.
Mystic | @r_merriam
Team Mystic is a long-time embedded software developer working with robots to keep his skills intact and have fun during retirement. He received honors participating in previous Centennial Challenges. The team name comes from Mystic Lake Software, which is based on a small lake behind his home in Texas. It reflects the aura of mystery people have regarding software. He plans to invest, take a vacation with his wife, and buy more robots if he is awarded the prize money. Learn more about Team Mystic at mysticlakesoftware.com.
Nevermore | @NevermoreSRC
The former Air Force Captain behind Nevermore studied Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University and served in two assignments over a span of eight years in the military. He is enjoying the freedom to explore various interests, including traveling, playing guitar, training for Ninja Warrior and volunteering for disaster relief. The team name was chosen because people often believe the individual was named after the romantic poet, Edgar Allan Poe, who used the phrase ‘nevermore’ in his poem titled “The Raven.”
Ring of the Nibelungs
Six individuals affiliated with the Tufts University Human-Robot Interaction Lab are competing to apply and test their cognitive architecture in a new domain. Ring of the Nibelungs decided on their team name after listening to composer Richard Wagner’s opera “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” which features a Valkyrie robot similar to the one being used in the Space Robotics Challenge.
An individual from the state of Massachusetts is the brains behind the operation of the team Sirius. If he is awarded the prize money, he plans to purchase capital equipment for robotics efforts. Building robotics for work and fun, this individual is looking to further develop and test image recognition in R5.
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SpaceBucs | @SpaceBucs
Five full-time robotics engineers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are representing SpaceBucs in the Space Robotics Challenge. SpaceBucs has competed in other robotics challenges and plans to leverage their previous knowledge and experience to implement new software quickly. The team members’ expertise in software perception, planning and implementation is well-suited to complete the challenge tasks.
Space Weavers | @Kapoor_Amita
Hoping to fund resources for robotics hardware and eventually their own startup, the team members of Space Weavers are all professional and academic colleagues with strong programming and systems experience. The three-person team from California has a wide variety of interests aside from robotics, some of which include hiking, philosophy and Buddhism.
Team ALv2.0 | @robotiberia
Team ALv2.0, represented by three family members from Canada, hopes to fund a robotics company if awarded the prize money. One member was a Level 1 winner in previous NASA Centennial Challenges under Team AL. The addition of v2.0 in the team name signifies that the team has been modified and is ready to compete, while paying tribute to the Sample Return Robot, and current team mascot, AL. The team captain has enlisted the help of her father, a firefighter captain in the Mississauga, Ontario Fire Department, and cousin, who both have mathematic and robotic experience, for the Space Robotics Challenge.
Team Olympus Mons | @OlympusMonsTeam
Ten robotics and software specialists representing six countries make up Team Olympus Mons. Olympus Mons is the name of the largest discovered volcano in the solar system and is located on Mars, where the simulated competition will take place; this is where they gained inspiration for their team name. The team members are all current or former employees at PAL Robotics who have stayed in touch throughout the years. Although they are not eligible for prize money, Team Olympus Mons entered the competition to have fun and become more involved in simulated space exploration.
Team Olrun | @OlrunSRC
Team Olrun is represented by an individual from Indiana. The team name was chosen because Olrun was a Valkyrie from Norse mythology, namesake of NASA’s R5 being used in the Space Robotics Challenge. Team Olrun is participating in the challenge to build sufficient robotics experience, and hopes to operate a robotics business and hire a partner if awarded the prize money.
THE HUMANZ ARE DEAD | @HUMANZAREDEAD
Seven American and Hungarian expats with diverse professional backgrounds make up the team THE HUMANZ ARE DEAD. Formed during a robotics competition in 2015, the team name was chosen as a tribute to the song “The Humans Are Dead,” by Flight of the Conchords. If awarded the prize money, THE HUMANZ ARE DEAD will use it to fund their engineering projects and other robotics competitions. The main goal of the team is to learn about and contribute to the exciting field of autonomous robotics for space exploration.
Walk Softly | @TeamWalkSoftly
Team Walk Softly joins the fray from upstate New York. The team name is reminiscent of a phrase often attributed to former President Theodore Roosevelt, “speak softly and carry a big stick – you will go far.” Team members are coworkers at GE Global Research who have an interest in humanoid robots and decided to enter on their own time. The team is excited to see the innovative solutions that come out of this challenge.
The Whalers | @jedediyah
The Whalers is made up of a mathematics teacher and a student at a high school in Massachusetts. Hoping to buy a robot if they are awarded the prize money, The Whalers are interested in highlevel, state-of-the-art robotics. One of the team members has competed in other robotics challenges, and hopes his experience will attribute to The Whalers progression throughout the Space Robotics Challenge.
WHRL | @WPI_HRL
With 39 team members ranging from freshman to graduate students, and faculty and staff, WHRL has participated in other robotics challenges and hopes to win the prize money to support students researching humanoid robotics. Sponsored by Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, the team will use Agile software development and the minds of many enthusiastic and smart students to excel in the competition.
WV Robotics Team | @WVRoboticsTeam
Three robotics researchers from West Virginia make up the WV Robotics Team. With extensive experience in systems and robotics engineering, the team hopes to increase autonomy in humanoid robots.
Xion Systems is comprised of one individual in California who grew up with a fascination for space and technology. A self-taught programmer, the individual representing Xion Systems has a passion for robotics engineering. If Xion Systems is a prize recipient, the money will be used to pay for college expenses and eventually, fund a research lab for innovative humanoid technologies.
ZARJ | @ZarjRobotics
ZARJ is represented by four engineers and programmers based in Minnesota. The Team has been interested in NASA’s Centennial Challenges for the past four years, but did not have the time or resources to enter the contests. Finally, ZARJ was able to enter the Space Robotics Challenge before the deadline arrived. If ZARJ is awarded prize money, they plan to distribute it equally between team members to defray some competition travel costs.