AGH UST students awarded prizes at most prestigious exhibition of inventions in Europe

Creators and developers of the submarine robot Wiatka, photo archives of S. Olędzki

Robot featuring an elastic hull of changeable geometry, photo archives of S. Olędzki

A submarine robot with a hull of changeable geometry, and the system “Total Car Rescue”, which prevents drivers from falling asleep, are the inventions of AGH UST students that were awarded gold medals with distinction at the most prestigious exhibition of inventions in Europe “Geneva Inventions”. 

Robot featuring an elastic hull of changeable geometry   

The project has been developed by a team related to the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics: Sebastian Dawid Olędzki, Jakub Grabek, BSc, and Łukasz Sadowski, BSc; their research supervisors are Dr Wiesław Olędzki and Daniel Prusak, DSc. The invention is being commercialised within the framework of the spin-off company Bisonte, established in collaboration with the university. 

Wiatka is a multi-purpose submarine robot of a small size and low production and maintenance costs, which can carry out underwater tasks, such as cleaning structures (for example, water intakes, ship and boat hulls) or lifting objects from the bottom of water reservoirs. These assignments require from a vehicle the capability of carrying additional equipment, hence a high ratio of payload weight to kerb weight. Moreover, robot Wiatka offers far-reaching modularity with respect to drives, power supply, and observation heads. It is the first in the world miniROV that can carry load of substantial weight, by which means it can replace divers in performing the most dangerous underwater tasks, for example, in a contaminated environment. 

A characteristic feature of the robot is an elastic hull of changeable geometry, which makes it possible to submerge the vehicle by means of controlling and changing its displacement. The hull of the submarine robot is made of a light elastic pipe of considerable tensile strength, attached to a light external structure. The pipe is filled with compressed gas, whose pressure is automatically changed in relation to a given submersion of the vehicle in such a way that the gas pressure slightly exceeds the pressure of water at a given depth, thus ensuring the correct stiffness of the hull.   

The device has been developed with care of the natural environment. In the entire design there is not a single movable seal, hence in order to ensure tightness there is no need to use any grease or lubricants that could penetrate into the water. The biaxial observation head is operated only by means of magnetic clutches, and the applied propellers are greased and cooled by water. The robot’s mechanical construction is protected by patent rights in Poland (patent application number: P.413003) and in the United States (patent application number: 15/242,399). 

It was not the first award received by the AGH UST constructors in 2017 – participation in the exhibition in Geneva had been ensured by the robot’s previous success in the competition "Student inventor".

System preventing drivers from falling asleep “Total Car Rescue” 

Wojciech Żdżarski, a student of the Faculty of Computer Science, Electronics and Telecommunications, and his friend Arkadiusz Szczepanek of the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw, have created an innovative system preventing drivers from falling asleep and checking their concentration while driving a car. 

The device relies on four fundamental principles – comprehensiveness, non-invasiveness, intuition, and prevention. It can be mounted on the vehicle’s windscreen in the course of several minutes – and from that moment it will not require any further activity on the part of the driver. Its key features include mathematically-based predictions of the future and multi-stage personalisation of results, as well as complete independence from the user.  

The system does not detect the fact of falling asleep, but it determines a probability of lowering concentration and excessive tiredness in the near future, which is possible thanks to the conversion of 14 physical indicators (biometric parameters, the driver’s activity on the road, and external factors) into the language of mathematics by means of the developers’ own algorithms. 

The performance of the device will be modified and adjusted to a particular user thanks to two independent mechanisms: the application of an artificial neural network, which analyses the features of a given person’s body and applies respective changes to the decision algorithms (threshold values for alerts, shapes of function graphs), and on the basis of information obtained from the mobile application, which monitors the driver’s activity 24/7 and informs the system about any particular circumstances in which he or she gets into the vehicle. 

The young constructors began work on the project when they were still in the secondary school. In the course of their studies, despite the distance between Krakow and Warsaw, they did not abandon the project. Their joint achievements are, inter alia, a prize for the application "Localife" in the international competition "Berlin Startup Calling", second prize in the Polish national competition “Young Inventor”, a gold medal at the international exhibition “Brussels Innova”, and prizes in the competition “E(x)plory”. The students’ ambition is to develop a device that will become available on the market. 

The largest exhibition in Europe 

The 45th International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva took place on 29 March – 2 April, 2017. It is the largest exhibition of inventions in Europe, and one that is an important forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences between inventors, industry, and business. This year, 725 exhibitors from 40 countries presented their inventions. In total, the visitors could admire over 1,000 innovative solutions. Among the exhibitors there were independent developers, as well as the representatives of companies, universities, and government agencies.