At the joint robotics laboratory of Voronezh State University and INTEKHROS, students from the Faculty of Applied Mathematics, Informatics, and Mechanics work on their graduation papers and solve specified industrial problems. For example, Nikita Gorbunov, a master’s student from the Department of Computational Mathematics and Applied Information Technologies, had to create a robot simulator which could be used to teach interns to control a machine at a manufacturing plant. The student and his supervisors told us about their progress on the challenge.
“The topic of my dissertation is “Constructing an industrial robot simulator”. It was my scientific supervisor, Sergey Medvedev, associate professor at the Department of Computational Mathematics and Applied Information Technologies, and Alexander Yakovlev, associate professor at the Department of Mechanics and Computer Modelling, who came up with the idea. It took a while to complete the project: I started to develop it on my own but later other students from our faculty joined me. After that, I continued to develop the idea and tried to help them. We ended up working simultaneously on a large number of problems and it helped us to understand what teamwork is like. We had to design a personnel training simulator using Unity game engine. Since the real industrial machine, a РТС Р-300 robot manipulator, is quite expensive, the training of operators can run into a number of problems. For example, the robot or its parts can break down. Our development will help to prevent this: the operator controls a real-world model with the help of a remote control, which is an exact copy of the original. To provide a well-designed skeletal animation for such a sophisticated mechanism we used our knowledge of specialised disciplines, such as mechatronics and robotics and such fundamental subjects as linear algebra, computer graphics, and, of course, programming. It is pleasing to know that VSU students are capable of doing such things. I think if we had more applied diploma projects at university, it would encourage students to delve deeper in the subjects they learn and would make them aware that they will really need the knowledge they gain,” said Nikita.
The first trial version of the stimulator is now ready and the students will keep developing it. Alexander Yakovlev, associate professor at the Department of Mechanics and Computer Modelling, the reviewer of the project, highly praised the great practical value of the project. The development can be useful for INTERKHROS, industrial holdings, and companies specialising in video games and the development of corresponding applications.
Anastasia Krasnaya, the coordinator of research and design and experimental projects at INTERKHROS, emphasised that there are no projects similar to Nikita’s project today in Russia and it is an excellent debut:
“Nikita’s project and its defence is an excellent debut. The practical significance of the project is, without a doubt, enormous: the simulator opens up many opportunities in terms of training operators and the modelling of various experiments. Also, it has many opportunities for further development. When conducting their research, students constantly faced different problems and tasks, starting with the problem of importing a model robot and finishing with the issues with regard to physical processes modelling. However, the team managed to respond effectively to all challenges! Especially given the fact that until now there have been no similar projects in Russia and the students had to start their project from scratch. That is why we are planning to engage more talented students in our projects!”