Monday, January 23, 2017

Toolbox

  • Monday, Dec. 19, 2016
FilmLight provides future-proof picture finishing for Sky
Baselight TWO 4k color grading with Blackboard 2 control surface
LONDON -- 

European entertainment company Sky has extended the capabilities of its postproduction department with a suite of high-performance color tools and technology from FilmLight. The new systems will allow Sky to serve the increasing technological demands of external clients as well as in-house departments at the company’s headquarters at Osterley, West London.

Now installed at Sky are two Baselight TWO high-performance 4K color grading systems, each with a Blackboard 2 control surface. The network also includes a Baselight ASSIST for finishing and rendering, and two Baselight CONFORM Mac OS X software seats for content preparation. In addition, there are four floating Baselight for Avid licences, which add Baselight grading and colour rendering capabilities to standard Avid editing workstations. 

The systems interoperate fully using the metadata-based Baselight Linked Grade (BLG) for renderless throughput and are linked with the color science of Truelight Colour Spaces.

“We cover the most advanced television content, including commercials and trailers, panel shows and documentaries,” said Cara Sheppard, postproduction-sr. manager of Entertainment and Creative operations at Sky. 

“The color toolset and grading capabilities in Baselight are by far the most advanced in the industry,” she added. “FilmLight has always led the way with advances in Ultra HD and HDR, which is of particular interest to us at the moment. And of course Baselight is our clients’ preferred grading system, and indeed is the grading system of choice amongst freelance colorists as well.”

In a busy broadcast postproduction facility, workflow is a key consideration. The Baselight TWO suites will be used for high-profile content, with simpler grading tasks performed using the Baselight for Avid plugin. This gives Sky considerable flexibility and faster turn around, without the need to move large amounts of content around the facility.

“The fact that FilmLight has put a considerable amount of thought, investment and development into collaborative workflows with Avid products--without compromising on quality or the grading toolset--is a huge bonus,” Sheppard said. 

Wolfgang Lempp, founder and CEO of FilmLight, added, “One of the really important factors for television is productivity. That’s why we’ve always pushed the idea to start grading early, and to keep the grade flexible throughout production and post. Collaborative working is not only more creatively satisfying, it is the most efficient way to get the project finalized and delivered. Sky value this approach just as much as we do, and the new installation ensures that their audiences see the pristine content they are expecting, while Sky continues to push their ideas and productivity forward.”

The suite of Baselight technology was installed at Sky earlier this month. Among the programs it is already finishing is the sports comedy panel show A League of Their Own: US Road Trip, with freelance colorist Peter Lynch.

  • Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016
"RED DOG: True Blue" graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio by Deidre McClelland
Colorist Deidre McClelland, CSI
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design announced that colorist Deidre McClelland, CSI, used DaVinci Resolve Studio to grade RED DOG: True Blue, the highly anticipated sequel to 2011’s RED DOG. McClelland graded the feature at postproduction studio Soundfirm’s Melbourne facility.

The creative team behind the original RED DOG film, director Kriv Stenders, producer Nelson Woss and writer Daniel Taplitz, all returned for the new installment which follows 11-year-old Mick (Levi Miller) as he is shipped off to his grandfather’s (Bryan Brown) cattle station in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia. He prepares himself for a life of dull hardship but instead finds myth, adventure and a friendship with a scrappy, one-of-a-kind dog that grows up to become an Australian legend.

According to McClelland, Stenders brought a mood board to the grade with images from the region in the 1960s. “They included family photos and images of the landscape, and they all had the unique look that only Ektachrome can bring to an image: strong color and glossy blacks,” McClelland explained. “Paintings by Albert Namatjira were also used as a reference for the incredible reds and oranges of the earth, the blue of distant hills and the sage green of the gum trees.”

While the Pilbara landscape was expertly captured by DP Geoffrey Hall, ACS, McClelland aided by enhancing vibrancy as the story follows Mick’s adaptation to the sudden harsh reality of life in the desert. Warmth permeates the dryness as Mick becomes accustomed to the terrain and befriends the dog, and the audience becomes more familiar with the pervasive intense color and heat.

“The Pilbara’s colors seemed too incredible to believe at times, and although it seemed extreme, it was accurate. There were many scenes where I questioned whether the color was too heightened, particularly sunset and sunrise, but it was all there to begin with, as Geoffrey Hall had captured it beautifully. It was just a matter of accentuating it in the grade,” said McClelland. “Continuity between the two movies was very important to Nelson, so we reduced the green in places as the desert landscape had changed due to more rainfall since the previous movie.”

McClelland cites careful use of color boost in DaVinci Resolve Studio’s Color Match palette as a great way to get the most out of the colors of the outback. “The midtone detail was very helpful when trying to get the skin tones looking the way I wanted them. There was often the dilemma of extremely different skin tones in high-contrast light between Mick and the station hand Taylor Pete, who wore a signature cowboy hat that further darkened his face. The tracking in DaVinci Resolve Studio is great, so adjusting a face and tracking it across the frame is a very efficient task,” she noted.

When the story returns from the 1960s to present day, a coolness contrasts the warmth and “rose-colored glasses” looks of the past, providing a sense of reality with a sleek and clean look. Cityscapes and house interiors have a crisp, cool feel, which is in stark contrast to the color and the heat of the Pilbara in 1960s. Darkness was also used to add a sense of dread where necessary, and brightness to uplift the scene where Mick finally leaves the cattle station.

“A beautiful but emotional scene with Grandpa and Mick needed to look like a Rembrandt painting: dark, warm wooden tones, intimate and cocoon-like. With the use of vignettes and specific areas of dark and light, this scene has a very delicate beauty to it,” explained McClelland. “Scenes that need to be dark enough to be mysterious but light enough to read expressions are always a bit of a challenge. When Mick loses his torch in a cave, I had to ensure the best of both worlds. Lifting areas that were not exposed to be bright can introduce noise. DaVinci Resolve Studio’s noise reducer was a great help and solved the problem without compromising the image.”

In another scene, Grandpa’s face is backlit and under-exposed under a hat, and McClelland needed to stretch the look to read his face. “Because of the complicated shape, it wasn’t possible to rotoscope the background and keep detail in the sky behind him. My solution was to introduce some sky from another shot on another layer and do a very soft edged key to bring through the rays of the sun,” she noted. “A scene that was supposed to be sunset through the trees had similar treatment. I graded it so that the sky became overexposed, and using another sky from an earlier shot, I keyed in some sunset clouds.”

DaVinci Resolve Studio’s Custom Curves also helped McClelland control the areas of the frame that became saturated without impacting the less saturated parts. “An amazing fire sequence was followed by shots of exhausted and soot-covered fire fighters and station hands,” said McClelland. “Through the smoke and dust, they looked partly charred themselves. To enhance the soot and dirt feeling, I used the Lum vs. Sat curve to give the darker areas a very black look. It is a great tool to give a really ‘grimy’ look to things.”

McClelland added, “With so many different looks, the ability to create several versions and display them on the screen for the client to assess was a great help. Also, creating several power grade still bins was handy to carry stills of similar shots into the next reel, as well as grades of course.”

Reels were stored as separate projects, which allowed additional background work while McClelland graded. “A red earth power grade bin was created so that when Kriv wanted to check the shots, he could refer to one I had saved from another reel,” said McClelland. “I was then able to do a split between a still from reel one alongside reels two through five to see that they all matched. As we switched in and out of present day to the past, it was important that the skin tones of the boy and his dad in a night scene were the same each time, so another power grade bin was created for their close ups.”

McClelland concluded, “Tools like color trace are always a great help when there are revisions to the cut, and DaVinci Resolve Studio’s new edit tools are making everything more efficient as the software advances.”

  • Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016
Quantum unveils StorNext 5.4  workflow storage platform
Universal Cloud Content Management With StorNext 5
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- 

Quantum Corp. (NYSE: QTM) announced StorNext 5.4, a new release of the company’s acclaimed workflow storage platform that brings new levels of efficiency and flexibility to media content management. StorNext 5.4 enhancements include the ability to integrate existing public cloud storage accounts and third-party object storage (private cloud) — starting with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, NetApp StorageGRID, IBM Cleversafe and Scality RING — as archive tiers in a StorNext®-managed media environment. Another new feature enables users to deploy applications embedded within StorNext-powered Xcellis™ workflow storage appliances.

Expanded Cloud Options
One of the most significant enhancements is a new feature in StorNext Storage Manager™ that offers automated, policy-based movement of content into and out of users’ existing public and private clouds while maintaining the visibility and access that StorNext provides. As a result, customers can protect their prior investments and reduce the cost and complexity of cloud storage administration. Additional benefits include:

• Seamless integration for public and private clouds within a StorNext-managed environment that can also encompass primary disk and tape storage tiers.
• Full user and application access to media stored in the cloud without the need for additional hardware or software.
• Extended versioning across sites and the cloud.
• The ability to leverage integrated cloud transfer acceleration, a broad selection of third-party WAN acceleration tools and high-speed connectivity options for high-volume data transfers.

Xcellis Storage Support for Application Deployment
By enabling applications to run inside its Xcellis Workflow Director, Quantum’s new Dynamic Application Environment (DAE) capability in StorNext 5.4 allows users to leverage a converged storage architecture to reduce the time, cost and complexity of deploying and maintaining applications. The DAE supports embedded applications in self-contained virtual machines (VMs), with a hypervisor dynamically allocating resources as needed to guarantee both storage and application performance. This approach to application deployment eliminates the need for dedicated servers and networking resources, keeps applications close to content storage and helps users take full advantage of their compute resources. With support for both Windows and Linux VMs, the DAE adds application flexibility and compatibility to the storage environment. Ten media technology companies have already certified their applications for deployment on Xcellis or are in the process of doing so: Aspera, CatDV, Cantemo, Elements, Evolphin, FocalPoint Server, GLOOKAST, IPV, Metus and Telestream.

New Functionality in Xcellis Workflow Systems
StorNext 5.4 provides users with new connectivity options for Xcellis workflow storage — quad 16Gb Fibre Channel and dual 40Gb Ethernet — as well as new NAS capabilities such as NFS 4.0. Other StorNext 5.4 enhancements include:
• Support for a broader range of flash-based metadata controllers, including lower-price options for smaller deployments with high-performance requirements.
• Improved monitoring and reporting for real-time insight into the entire tiered-storage environment.
• Automated over-the-air upgrades.

StorNext Connect Refinements
In conjunction with the release of StorNext 5.4, Quantum has refined its StorNext Connect™ management tools with an app-based framework that facilitates the independent installation, operation and updating of individual components while they are online.
• The enhanced Installation App simplifies the initial installation and configuration of Xcellis systems, providing step-by-step walk-throughs and visual guides that match the new configuration options in StorNext 5.4 and on Xcellis.
• A new NAS App simplifies and consolidates management of NAS functionality.
• A Discovery App and a total environment Capacity Reporter App are also being developed.

StorNext 5.4 is currently shipping with all newly purchased Xcellis, StorNext M-Series and StorNext Pro™ Solutions offerings, as well as Artico™ archive appliances. It is available at no additional cost for StorNext 5 users under current support contracts.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016
Avid unites audio product business under industry vet Tim Claman 
Tim Claman
BURLINGTON, Mass. -- 

Avid® (Nasdaq: AVID) announced that Tim Claman, vice president, platform and solutions, is now responsible for Avid’s audio solutions, further uniting the development of Avid’s comprehensive tools and workflow solutions for media creation, distribution and optimization under Claman’s leadership. As part of the company’s platform strategy and commitment to continual innovation, Avid will further integrate its industry-leading audio solutions, including Pro Tools®, Sibelius® and Avid VENUE™ products, into the MediaCentral® Platform—the open, tightly integrated and efficient platform designed for media—giving audio postproduction, music creation and live sound professionals the operational efficiency they need to create high-quality, engaging and immersive content.

A media technology innovator with a track record of designing and developing award-winning tools and technologies for the media and entertainment industry, Claman has a unique perspective on media technology stemming from his career as an accomplished editor, sound designer and mixer. Claman first joined Avid as a senior product manager for Pro Tools in 1998, designing many of the features that led to Pro Tools’ 2004 Academy Award. Over 14 years, he played a major role in shaping the company’s technology and product strategies as he rose through the ranks to become CTO. After working as CTO at Snell Advanced Media (SAM) and Quantel from 2013 through 2015, Claman rejoined Avid in February 2016 as vice president, platform and solutions.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with our preeminent customer community to shape our collective future in the audio post-production, music creation and live sound industries,” said Claman. “Through tight integration with MediaCentral, we’re dedicated to continually innovating our audio solutions to meet our customers’ emerging needs.”

Tim Carroll, Avid’s former vice president, audio products, has left the company to become Group CEO of Focusrite. “I would like to thank Avid for 20 years of career growth and amazing opportunities,” said Carroll. “I am so very proud of everything we have accomplished to further music technology and the art of recording. I leave knowing the product team is in great hands with Tim Claman at the helm of such a passionate and dedicated team of professionals. I look forward to continuing Focusrite and Avid’s current partnership and looking for new ways to work together as well.”

“With his extensive experience in audio product development and in-depth knowledge of the music and post-production industries, Tim Claman is the ideal candidate to spearhead our audio product development efforts,” said Dana Ruzicka, vice president and chief product officer, Avid. “We congratulate Tim Carroll on his new role at Focusrite and thank him for his many years of service at Avid. We look forward to further strengthening our long-standing relationship with Focusrite under his leadership.”

  • Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016
Discovery Networks MENA opts for Avid MediaCentral Platform
BURLINGTON, Mass. -- 

Avid® (Nasdaq: AVID) announced that Discovery Networks MENA, the Dubai-based division of Discovery Communications, is relying on the Avid MediaCentral® Platform to optimize production processes and facilitate creative collaboration.

Discovery Networks MENA opened its Dubai Studio City facility in 2014. It produces approximately 175 hours of local content per year, including cooking shows for Fatafeat, the popular Middle Eastern food channel, while also producing channel branding and localised trailers and promos for international content.

The existing postproduction infrastructure was inflexible and incapable of meeting Discovery Networks MENA’s evolving needs. Creative staff were working in isolation, while simple repetitive tasks took up too much time. As the system approached end-of-life, the Discovery Networks MENA technical team took the opportunity to select a more flexible, scalable and future-proof solution that would provide the ability to create, distribute and manage content more efficiently and profitably using one single common platform.  

The technical team approached Avid, which is installed at many of Discovery’s global sites, and was impressed by the significant end-to-end production efficiencies and flexible deployment options that the Avid MediaCentral Platform offers.

“We worked closely with Avid to design and implement a comprehensive workflow based on the Avid MediaCentral Platform,” said Bassem Maher, technical and IT manager, Discovery Networks MENA. “It solves many of our challenges by connecting our operational areas, allowing us to automate time-consuming processes and enabling our creative staff to collaborate. It also has the flexibility to expand and adapt easily as our requirements change.”

Avid’s comprehensive and creative workflow tools and integrated and efficient platform are on full display at Discovery.  Their editors use Avid Media Composer® stations to cut programs and trailers, with the addition of the Avid Artist® | DNxIO video interface to accelerate hi-resolution workflows from capture to output. Avid NEXIS™ software-defined scalable storage provides virtual pools of storage, providing easy and simultaneous access to files enabling the Discovery creative team to collaborate in real time. Avid MediaCentral | UX, the cloud-based web front end to the Avid MediaCentral Platform, allows remote access to production assets, including low-res video clips which facilitates quick review and approval by producers in any location with an internet connection. Avid Interplay® | Production provides comprehensive production and asset management tools to streamline the production process. The Avid Global Services team designed and installed the new workflow, as well as providing staff training and helping the Discovery team get ready to go to air.

“As a whole, the Avid solutions have transformed the way we work, and each component has improved our production process at every stage of the workflow,” said Maher. “For example, the Avid NEXIS centralized storage has enabled a truly collaborative environment for our editors, allowing them to share files and access projects without interrupting each other’s work, while MediaCentral | UX lets producers review and approve content remotely via the cloud, which means they are not tied to the edit suite and can be more productive.”  

“In a competitive market, broadcasters need their content to stand out while keeping budgets under control and maximising productivity,” said Jeff Rosica, president, Avid. “They also need systems that will easily adapt to future requirements such as moving toward cloud-based workflows. Avid’s integrated solutions have enabled Discovery Networks MENA to achieve a production workflow that is streamlined, collaborative and future-proof, allowing them to focus on producing high quality, engaging creative content while saving time and resources.”

The new workflow went live in November 2016.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016
High court sides with Samsung in patent dispute with Apple 
In this Dec. 12, 2013 file photo, a man passes by the Samsung Electronics Co. logos at its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- 

A unanimous Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with smartphone maker Samsung in its high-profile patent dispute with Apple over design of the iPhone.

The justices said Samsung may not be required to pay all the profits it earned from 11 phone models because the features at issue are only a tiny part of the devices.

Apple had won a $399 million judgment against Samsung for copying parts of the iPhone's patented design, but the case now returns to a lower court to decide what Samsung must pay.

The case is part of a series of disputes between the technology rivals that began in 2011. Apple accused Samsung of duplicating a handful of distinctive iPhone features for which Apple holds patents: the flat screen, the rounded rectangle shape of the phone, and the layout of icons on the screen.

At issue was how much Samsung is required to compensate Apple under an 1887 law that requires patent infringers to pay "total profit." Apple said that meant all the profits from the phone sales, while Samsung argued it was limited to profits related to the specific components that were copied.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the court that the law does not require damages to be based on the entire product, but can be limited to only a component of the product. The decision overturned a ruling from a federal appeals court in Washington, which said that Apple was entitled to all the profits.

But the high court declined to lay out a specific test for how such damage awards should be calculated. Sotomayor said doing so was not necessary and the justices left it up to lower courts to resolve.

Samsung had argued that the hefty award ignored the fact that its phones contain more than 200,000 other patents that Apple does not own. Apple said the verdict was fair because the iPhone's success was directly tied to its distinctive look.

  • Monday, Dec. 5, 2016
Grass Valley to showcase integrated sports production solutions at SVG Summit
Neerav Shah, sr. VP of strategic marketing, Grass Valley
MONTREAL -- 

Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, will demonstrate the synergy of its systems at the annual Sports Video Group (SVG) Summit, taking place December 12-13 at the New York Hilton in New York City. Grass Valley will have a number of its products on display for demonstration at the conference, including the LDX 86 Universe System Camera and K2 Dyno Universe Replay System, which together provide a 4K UHD/HD 6X replay solution.

“We know that our customers have a lot on their minds, especially during live broadcasts, so we aim to make our broadcast solutions as easy and efficient as possible,” said Neerav Shah, sr. VP of strategic marketing, Grass Valley. “Our systems are designed to work effectively together and we’re excited to showcase this synergistic aspect of our products as it relates to sports broadcast at the SVG Summit.”

SVG is a professional organization dedicated to supporting the sports production and distribution industry and, through the spread of information, helping advance the industry as both sports and video technology change and grow. For 11 years, the SVG Summit has provided a forum for those involved in the sports production and distribution industry—including Grass Valley—to share their newest technological innovations and solutions.

In addition to product demonstrations throughout the Summit, Grass Valley’s Sam Peterson, sr. segment manager of live production, will speak on a panel entitled “The Future of Venue Video Signal Transport” on Monday, December 12 at 3:15pm.

Equipment on display at the show includes:

  • LDX 86 Universe System Camera
  • K2 Dyno Replay System
  • GV Korona Compact Switcher
  • GV Node Real-Time IP Processing and Routing Platform
  • Friday, Dec. 2, 2016
ARRI announces Pro Camera Accessories for Canon EOS C700
PCA for Canon EOS C700
BURBANK, Calif. -- 

ARRI announced its range of Pro Camera Accessories (PCA) for the Canon EOS C700, equipping the camera with professional on-set functionality and rugged durability. Now shipping, the new accessory sets have been endorsed by Canon and will be featured in the company’s upcoming official camera presentations. The accessories are:

ARRI Plate for Canon C700
This hybrid base plate adapts to documentary-style setups as well as traditional rental configurations. It allows precise balancing of the camera on the shoulder and features a comfortable non-slip shoulder pad for effective handheld operating, even with a studio bridge plate attached.

ARRI Top Plate for Canon C700
This lightweight low-mode support features built-in rod support for lens motors and viewfinder mounts. It offers accessory threads at the most convenient, versatile positions, as well as interfaces for most ARRI handles. The original Canon accessories, such as the handle and microphone bracket, are also compatible with this top plate.

ARRI Viewfinder Bracket for Canon EVF
This viewfinder adapter sits permanently in place of the original EVF mechanical interface. The bracket offers a quick release system, as well as compatibility with all current viewfinder mounting brackets in the ARRI camera range.

  • Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016
Avid NEXIS expands media storage capacity and performance
BURLINGTON, Mass. -- 

Avid® (Nasdaq: AVID) announced new innovations are now available for Avid NEXIS™, the software-defined storage platform specifically designed for storing and managing media. Powered by the MediaCentral® Platform, the open, tightly integrated and efficient platform designed for media, Avid NEXIS High Availability options and dramatically enhanced scalability for Avid NEXIS | Enterprise systems provide reliability, performance and storage capacity for the most demanding large-scale broadcast and post-production environments.
 
As part of Avid’s commitment to offering the most comprehensive tools and workflow solutions to create, distribute and optimize media, Avid NEXIS scalability enhancements now double the capacity of Avid NEXIS | Enterprise systems. Avid NEXIS supports up to 48 Media Packs across a single scale-out enterprise-class system, enabling customers to mix and match a combination of Avid NEXIS | E5, E4, and E2 engines, whether for new installations or integrated with their existing Avid ISIS® systems. With this new release, customers can scale the Avid NEXIS system’s total capacity up to nearly 3 PB of total storage with up to 19.2 GB/seconds of bandwidth, capable of delivering 250 streams of Sony XAVC-Intra 59p UHD or more than 680 streams of DNxHD-220 media.

The new scale out features build upon the previously announced Avid NEXIS High Availability options--including the Avid NEXIS Redundant Storage Controller, Redundant System Director, and Redundant Networking--protect mission-critical productions against potential hardware performance issues. Avid NEXIS Media Mirror Protection protects an entire Avid NEXIS system against any five simultaneous disk failures, and even an entire engine failure.

“Media organizations need more robust storage infrastructure, greater reliability and control, and closer collaboration in order to create high-quality and engaging content,” said Alan Hoff, vice president, Market Solutions, Avid. “These new innovations for Avid NEXIS deliver the most resilient storage system in the industry with unmatched scalability, together with high-availability options that address these needs and boost operational efficiency.”

Thanks to the openness of MediaCentral, Avid NEXIS solutions work with all top media creation applications, including Media Composer®, Pro Tools®, Apple Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Grass Valley EDIUS, and many more. Production teams can quickly access a shared pool of virtualized storage resources, which dramatically increases their efficiency--a testament to the media-savvy collaboration capabilities Avid NEXIS delivers.

“Our clients primarily use Avid editing solutions, but we need the versatility to offer alternative workflows,” said Ollie Stratton, technical consultant and head of Video Europe’s edit department. “The fact [that] [Avid] NEXIS has the ability to natively support Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Black Magic’s DaVinci Resolve, is a real leap forward for flexible, open workflows.”

Avid NEXIS enables dynamic virtualization so media organizations can adjust storage capacity mid-project, without disrupting workflows. Customers can select components that meet their current needs, and easily grow as their needs change.

Avid NEXIS is a scale-out storage solution with adaptive protection, enabling customers to dynamically tune the system to ensure that high-priority workflows always have the capacity, performance and data protection levels they require. Customers can give critical projects maximum performance, while throttling back on less critical workflows. This ability lets teams react quickly to changes, adjusting performance and protection levels to match the needs of a project at any stage in the workflow.

As part of Avid’s commitment to offering flexible deployment models, Avid offers a range of Avid NEXIS | Enterprise systems, including the hyper-dense Avid NEXIS | E5 storage engine, the Avid NEXIS | E4 high-density storage engine and the Avid NEXIS | E2 small-footprint storage engine.

Avid NEXIS enhanced scalability and the following Avid NEXIS High Availability options are now available:  

  • Avid NEXIS Redundant Storage Controller
  • Avid NEXIS Redundant System Director
  • Avid NEXIS Redundant Networking
  • Avid NEXIS Media Mirroring
  • Monday, Nov. 28, 2016
2 Taiwanese teenagers win World Robot Olympiad in India 
In this Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, photo, a boy plays with a robot during the World Robot Olympiad in New Delhi, India. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
NEW DELHI (AP) -- 

Whizzing around a green felt table chasing a soccer ball beaming infrared light, the boxy robot shoots - and scores - and wins its Taiwanese teenage creators first prize at this year's student robot games.

The two breadbox-sized scooters, playing goalie and kicker, from the team called "Wings of Storm" were up against another Taiwanese team's robots in the "Football" category of the World Robot Olympiad held over the weekend in the Indian capital of New Delhi.

"We have been practicing since primary school," said Liaw Jia-wun, 15, thrilled to have won with his teammate. "We never in our lives could think that we would win the world championship."

Other categories at the robotics championships - attended by more than 450 teams from 50 countries - asked participants to create robotics solutions to reduce or recycle waste, leading teams to build robots that emptied trash bins or scooped up building debris for future use.

Some participants were as young as 6 years old, while others were approaching university graduation.

In the more advanced robotics category, robots had to be preprogrammed for the automated challenge of picking up mini bowling balls and knocking down pins. That meant the robots had to sense where the target was and hit it without any intervention from their creators.

The idea is to teach students computer programming as robotics moves beyond factory applications to everyday functions, said engineer Dominic Bruneau, the head coach for the Canadian teams.

"More and more, we will be interacting with robots" in our daily lives, Bruneau said. The student engineers are not just working on theory but are "doing practical work of building real stuff and trying to solve problems."

South African teacher and coach Nicky Du Plessis said the games helped kids develop key skills.

"We start with the fundamentals. We believe that if kids can start from a very young age ... it teaches them how to build," she said. "Then it teaches them logical thinking. How to change something quickly."