Sri Lankan apparel exporter Brandix Group announced an industry challenge to create a robotic arm that can pick up single pieces of fabric from a stack and place them in a reverse-order stack in a specified area within five minutes. Brandix described this invention a “potentially life-changing innovation” that will raise the bar significantly for Sri Lankan automation innovators.
Requirements for the challenge also demand that the entire stack not be picked up at once, reversed in the air and placed in another location. The pieces of fabric must not be damaged or folded during this process.
As a new category in the 2014 Sri Lanka Robotics Challenge, conducted for the E-Club of the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering of the University of Moratuwa and sponsored by Brandix, the inaugural Brandix Innovation Award will be open to wider range of inventors. The team that creates the best robotic arm and meets the requirements of the challenge will receive a cash price of Rs 250,000 (approximately $1920) from Brandix, and will have an employment opportunity to work on the prototype.
If the robotic arm can be used commercially, seed funding and assistance will be provided from Brandix’s start-up seed accelerator, Disrupt Unlimited.
Brandix director Udena Wickremesooriya, said, “At Brandix, we have taken it upon ourselves to be the stimulus for technological innovation in the apparel industry, where we believe, the potential for transformative technology and processes is infinite.”
The finals of the 2014 Sri Lanka Robotics Challenge will take place on Dec. 12 with the qualification round for the Industry Challenge held the day before.