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Roskilde: Virtual waste collection using robots

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Roskilde: Virtual waste collection using robots

By Andreas Johansen

Equipped with a joystick and a virtual reality headset, guests at Roskilde Festival tried their luck at controlling a robot and scoring points by collecting fictional waste on the festival site.

In front of Techlab—DTU’s stand at Roskilde Festival—guests were presented with a bit of everything. On Wednesday, festivalgoers were given the opportunity to play with robots in area representing the festival site full of waste—in the shape of bricks.

The project is the initiative of Kristian, Jakob, and Esben, three electrical engineering students. Kristian explains the rule of the game:

“The technology behind the game is actually pretty advanced, but quite easy to understand. Using a controller, which many people know from a PlayStation or an Xbox, the robot is moved across the site, and the goal is to collect as much waste as possible in the course of three minutes. The player sees everything from the angle of a tiny camera mounted on the front of the robot. This makes the player almost feel like he’s the actual robot,” he says.

Many players

The game quickly became popular among festivalgoers. A crowd of spectators gathered around the table, which made up the arena for the combatants. And thanks to the big screens installed by the team, the audience had front-row seats to the players’ virtual world—and it was indeed no low-key affair.

There was a loud buzz of laughing, helping, and cheering, when the players put on the headset and took off to the virtual realm of the robots.

In addition to the challenge of navigating the two-by-two-metre site, the players were further challenged by competing two at a time, so in addition to excelling at collecting bricks, the player also had to avoid bumping into his opponent who might then steal his bricks.

The game is currently only intended for entertainment purposes. The students are hoping, however, that the game may help create awareness about the technical possibilities available to automate and remote-control vehicles, which could make daily life easier in places such as Roskilde Festival.

source: Technical University of Denmark

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