May. 31, 2019

Robot to assist with learning disabilities wins at international student competition

  • left to right: Lukas Bühner, Rabea Sennlaub, Alexander Detsch and Florian Schulze (©TU Ilmenau/Dr. Heiner Dintera)left to right: Lukas Bühner, Rabea Sennlaub, Alexander Detsch and Florian Schulze (©TU Ilmenau/Dr. Heiner Dintera)

The team of the TU Ilmenau won first place in the international computer competition "Hard & Soft". The traditional student competition is hosted by the Romanian university "Stefan the Great" in Suceava and took place for the 26th time this year.

Fifteen teams from six countries faced the demanding and complex task of building an autonomous robotic system within five days to assist people with disabilities, elderly or dependent people or children with learning difficulties. The competition task required a wide range of skills in programming, networking, sensors, data processing and app design, as well as project management and teamwork.

The students from Ilmenau developed the robot "Larry", which supports children with poor computing and reading skills while learning. In interaction with the robot, the children solve math problems or respond to instructions in reading texts. In addition, Larry can identify and respond to emotions, which is a useful feature for children with symptoms of autism.

The evaluation of the international jury comprised all stages of the competition - from the draft to the ongoing work to the public demonstration. For the first time, the mutual evaluation of the participating teams was included in the overall verdict. At the final presentation, the four-member team of the TU Ilmenau was unanimously named the winner of the competition. The Ilmenauer contribution "convinced me with its technical as well as pedagogical concept and not least the good looks of Larry: a bright green Dino with embroidered logo of the TU Ilmenau, who can even dance."


Ilmenau University of Technology
Kirchhoffstr. 7

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