Day 11 – ANA Avatar XPRIZE – Day 2 of the finals

So much happening in the last four years. So many exciting, joyful and stressful moments. So many struggles, uncertainties, failures.  And finally, today was the day! The consecration of our dreams, perseverance and efforts! The last day of the finals!

EVE’s morning just before the runway

Let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore

 Last morning of preparation. One last struggle toward the end. Exactly the best time for a more aggressive approach. Let’s free EVE. No more frame !!! EVE is finally moving proudly on the three wheels with a lot more speed than ever. It’s also the time for a little “make-up”. Colored bandages for the hands, lasers on the wheels and a little Psyonic logo for a touch of glamour. Nothing’s too much for EVEs last fashion showcase.

On the other side, the i-Botics booth still had a lot to offer for the public. We had our friendly Haption, which was a favorite of multiple children. Halodi was also there, presenting their EVE to the public. One or two trips on the catwalk to the appetites of the public. Finally, SENSIKS with their pod, delivering a pleasant experience under the tropics in VR including smells, heat and airflow.

An exciting and stressful afternoon showcase : The Show Must Go On

The parkours in its full glory

What a show today! A more audience than yesterday, but also, higher production value. This meant teams had no time to negotiate with XPRIZE if something was wrong], and had to start at their exact appointed time.

Today also had more challenging teams. POLLEN Robotics got 15 points in 10.50 minutes, making them the 2nd team of the show at the time. What a skilled operator and a good avatar from their side. One more team to beat! We were now in 5th place with our score from yesterday.

1.00pm. Finally! Our turn to start with training and move in! You could feel the tension in the air.

The training went perfect. We had a stable network connection, and a VERY good judge. She could do every task without explanation instantly. So far so good.

After training: we moved EVE to the starting line… Initially, still an OK connection to the XPRIZE network… We started to believe again in the impossible

3PM: Final Countdown! Time for avatar EVE on the field to demonstrate the skills.  Time for our operator to show the determination and will to be the best of the bests. Finally the time was there to demonstrate what we had been working on for the last four years.

At least, that was our hope… As soon as the robot was at the starting line, the XPRIZE network started to give up on us… Our operator was able to start, but everyone could see something was off instantly. The operator was able to complete the conversation, but the movements were not as fluent as they should be. The vision system started to get laggier and laggier.

The network went from bad to worse. At some point, we only got 300 kbps (in layman’s terms: nothing at all). We saw EVE and the operator struggling at the switch with low quality vision, 1 frame per 3 seconds, non-understandable sounds and weird unsmooth, movements. Miraculously, the operator was still able do the switch task, purely on force feedback alone (as vision quality was so bad…)

Then, EVE completely stopped on the runway… Christiaan, Tycho, Robin and everyone in the tech. team did their best to make everything work, while under de scrutiny of multiple camera’s. And after some time:  Some movements going on again. Some hope? But it was too late… That was it… EVE was unable to finish the course.

EVE is stuck

We finally finish with yesterday’s score… 14 points out of 15 and a 5th place in the Competition. It is a good score, and more miraculously, it was achieved with a very low amount of bandwidth.

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