Robot Contest Winner Gets Extra Prize From Evolution Robotics

Inventor Dahn Trinh also received a $5,000 prize from iRobot for his plant-watering robot.

K.C. Jones, Contributor

December 3, 2007

2 Min Read

A second company has offered a surprise award to the winner of an iRobot contest.

Danh Trinh, of Towson, Md., received $5,000 in iRobot's Create Challenge Contest. Now, he also has received a prize package from Evolution Robotics, the company that provided the image processing program Danh used on his winning robot.

Evolution robotics announced that it would provide Danh with a professional robotics development system, worth about $30,000, a trip to visit the company's headquarters, and a view of new products at its IdeaLab in Pasadena, Calif.

Danh's Personal Home Robot can move around a home, spot plants, identify the plant type, visually determine its distance and location, and help guide a remote operator to send the robot to water the plant.

The ViPR visual system, powered by an early version of Evolution's visual pattern recognition technology, is 5 years old and was sold as part of a hobbyists' robot kit. ViPR has since been embedded in more than 2 million products, from toys that see and interact with children, to unmanned aerial vehicles, to allowing camera phone owners to perform visual searches.

Danh will now have a full suite of Evolution's professional software and hardware development tools, including its ERSP software platform for developing robotic applications. The platform features the latest version of ViPR and other technologies for navigation (including NorthStar), artificial intelligence, and robotic control.

Danh said he feels "like a contestant who has just won the big showcase showdown on the Price is Right!"

"My goal is to make the next-generation personal robot," he said in a statement. "Something that can be smart and powerful enough to do really useful things in the home, but also affordable enough for people to own. For me, this is better than winning a trip to Disneyland. Plus I actually get to take home some very cool tools to play with."

Danh developed and patented embedded systems for the power tools industry.

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