UNLV robotics team has an eye to the future — VIDEO

In an off-campus building less than a mile away from UNLV, HUBO — a robot named Metal Rebel — stands still waiting for commands.

When instructed to do so, he can walk, scale ladders, climb stairs, open doors and lift objects. But more importantly, he can go places and do things that might be too dangerous for humans.

“They can have a big impact in disaster,” says Dr. Paul Oh, Lincy Professor for Unmanned Aerial Systems at UNLV. “They can do the dangerous, dirty and dull jobs that humans can’t.”

Metal Rebel is one part of UNLV’s Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab, which opened in April 2015. It will be featured on NOVA on Vegas PBS in a Feb. 24 special called “Rise of the Robots.”

The lab is giving students and engineer professionals a chance to develop the future of robotics and discuss how technology can be developed to aid in times of disaster.

Oh was a roboticist at the time two planes flew into the Twin Towers on 9/11.

Although there were heroic efforts from first responders in the aftermath of the attack, Oh says with the right technology, cleanup and disaster relief could have been different — a sentiment that would manifest after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the nuclear reaction breaches in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011.

All of these lead Oh to look at the industry from a different perspective and focus on technological advances that could impact the aftermath of manmade and natural disasters.

Through his career, Oh had worked at colleges like Drexel University and secured grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA for his work with robotics and unmanned aircraft systems.

When Oh started looking for a change, he decided to look at Nevada, considering it was a test site for drones.

When he arrived at UNLV at the end of 2014, Oh was asked to prepare a design to enter in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Challenge finals, which asked competitors to come up with technology that would help during disaster relief.

“I was reluctant at first,” he says.

The competition was six months away, and he didn’t think they had the manpower and resources to pull it off.

But the College of Engineering rallied together and made it happen. The robotics lab was born in that process.

The team, DRC-Hubo@UNLV, was composed of researchers, professionals and students. Each came equipped with specific skill sets, from creating the hardware to designing the software. Metal Rebal was born through months of long, sleepless nights.

The concept of HUBO is something Oh and his brother have been working on for years in various forms.

In Philadelphia, one of the HUBO prototypes Oh created was child-sized. It played music and even threw the first pitch at a baseball game. Named Jamie, he sits in the UNLV robotics lab next to his big brother, the Metal Rebel.

“We needed to design something a little bigger (than the first HUBO),” Oh says. “We wanted it to look more like a firefighter than a small child.”

In June, the team traveled to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Challenge finals to compete against 25 other teams from around the world.

“It’s not really a competition,” Oh says. “When it’s about solving problems in disaster response, you don’t compete for that. It’s more of a call to arms. What can we all do in the face of humanitarian crisis.”

The challenge requires robots to drive and get out of a vehicle, cross volatile terrains, open doors, climb stairs, move or walk over debris and cut a hole in a wall.

DRC-Hubo@UNLV placed eighth in the world after performing six of eight tasks in 57 minutes and 41 seconds.

The win is big for UNLV.

“It shows that UNLV is the place to get things done,” Oh says.

For the undergraduate students who got to work on the project, this could help them with their future.

“If I go to work for a company creating driverless cars and they see the work I’ve done here, it’s probably going to help,” says 22-year-old Santiago Ricoy.

Ricoy was going to school at CSN and was looking for opportunity to advance in his knowledge in robotics when he met Oh.

Working in the lab has helped him think about the future and what he wants to do.

“I want to open an engineering firm one day,” he says. “I want to design technology that helps human life easier.”

UNLV’s robotics lab has been open less than a year and is still coming together.

A mural done by local company Walls360 is in the process of being finished and shows the lab’s past, present and future.

In addition to HUBO, the lab has a lot of gadgets, gizmos and concepts people are working on from a drone that can fly over spots to detect radiation to using robotics to meet agricultural needs.

While Oh and the people of the lab continue to work on their designs for better technology during disaster relief, he aspires for something greater.

Oh imagines a place where people can see the future of technology.

“It’s called Roboland,” he says. “It’s Universal Studios meets Epcot meets the Smithsonian.”

The concept would be a themed park where people can see an assortment of technology.

“You can see how robotics will play out in the medical field or care facilities,” he says.

Along with the scientific information, people can even play with devices to help foster a sense of excitement.

Oh thinks Las Vegas is a prime spot for Roboland and has reached out to UNLV’s business school, architectural department and hospitality program to look into feasibility of making his dream come true.

Roboland will not only get the general population excited about the future of technology — he says many people have a fear of where things are going — but will also inspire the next wave of roboticists.

Contact reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5201. Follow @mjlyle on Twitter.

Life and times of a 90-year-old horse player
Leo Polito of Las Vegas describes meeting legendary jockey and trainer Johnny Longden on the beach at Del Mar. Mike Brunker/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Learning the history of singing bowls
Presentation at Summerlin Library teaches residents about the history of singing bowls (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vicki Richardson speaks about on the power of art
Artist and arts advocate Vicki Richardson talks about the power of art to inspire and challenge. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DressCoders pairs tech with haute couture
DressCoders is a startup focused on haute couture garments. The company uses illuminated thread that is washable and can be sewn right into the fabric. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Brava infrared oven
In cooking with the Brava infrared oven,there’s no preheating. the bulbs can reach 500 degrees in less than a second. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sinks Merge Style And Utility
Study could determine cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of clinical trials at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, discusses his research on how inflammation in the brain impacts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holocaust survivors talk about tragedy and friendship
Janos Strauss and Alexander Kuechel share their perspectives on life. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Siegel Cares' Santa delivers toys to kids at Siegel Suites in Las Vegas
Siegel Cares, the charitable wing of The Siegel Group, delivered toys to families at their apartment complexes in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Revisiting “Christ the King” sculpture
A longtime admirer of the sculpture at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas shares her perspective. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator Christmas House
Arguably better than a hotel holiday display, is Terry and Angie Fator's home located in southwest Las Vegas.
UNLV Winter Graduation Packs Thomas & Mack
UNLV's 55th winter commencement ceremony included approximately 2,146 undergraduate and graduate students who recently completed their studies. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Build-A-Bear comes to Reed Elementary School
Students participated in a Build-A-Bear-Workshop at Doris Reed Elementary School in Las Vegas, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center art depicts names of God
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center founder Sharaf Haseebullah talks about new diamond-shaped art panels featuring some of the 99 names of Allah at the main entrance the Las Vegas mosque. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like