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Wpg Free Press: U of M’s humanoid lab recruits new talent

August 14, 2017 — 

Jennifer, U of M’s famed robot, was reported on by Winnipeg Free Press community newspaper, Souwester

International talent is helping stack the odds for the University of Manitoba’s Autonomous Agents Laboratory in advance of the HuroCup Games.

The team of researchers and programmers in the U of M’s computer sciences department have recruited 21-year-old Qiuting Gong to whip the lab’s humanoid robot, Jennifer, into shape.

Jennifer, the same robot that made local headlines for playing hockey and successfully tackling downhill skiing, will compete at the FIRA Roboworld Cup in Taiwan at the end of the month.

“What we do, in part, is work improving the intelligence in humanoid robotics and one of the ways that we do this is by doing demonstrations and competitions at athletic events,” explained John Anderson, head of the computer sciences department.

Jennifer will be competing in about a dozen events, including obstacle runs, penalty kicks, basketball, and archery.

“These are all tasks and techniques that are designed to explore different aspects of intelligence: eye-hand coordination, speed, movement, and planning complex motions,” Anderson said.

Gong, an undergraduate student at Harbing Engineering University in Heilongjiang, China, is in Winnipeg working with the lab as part of the federally funded Mitacs Globalink program. Thirty international students are currently in Winnipeg working in different disciplines at the U of M and the University of Winnipeg through Globalink.

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