What do robotics and table tennis have in common? As it turns out, the unusual combination of passion, driven by Team Spirit allows you to develop hobbies and enjoy your work. In the Wrocław branch of Sii Polska, engineers are working on creating the Robotics Workspace – a space where all interested employees will have the opportunity to try their hand at building robots and intelligent devices, and… practice table tennis. The initiative is carried out as part of the Passion Sponsorship Program.
From concept to design
It all started with a game of table tennis. Struggling with the challenges and demanding tasks of everyday life, several engineers from the Wrocław branch of Sii Poland decided to meet regularly in the office during a game of table tennis. It was a great break to loosen up a bit, integrate, play and get a new perspective on current tasks in projects. Many bugs have been fixed during a quick exchange of opinions, experiences, and ping pong balls!
– Over time, more and more people started to join or follow us – says Michał Wagner, Software Engineer at Sii Poland. Between ping pong games a lot of inspiring work took place, and the idea of creating a technological space dedicated to robotics began to arise. Our skills and experience are very diverse, we are software engineers, programmers of embedded and mobile systems, testers, managers, and IT specialists. We want to combine our passion for programming with another love: playing table tennis. We believe that thanks to this simple game, our relationships become stronger, easier, we communicate better, and our work also becomes more efficient – adds Michał.
Attention, a robot under construction!
There are table tennis training robots that just throw balls, are noisy, and work well for quick training, but don’t show the player what position and movement of the racket is needed to send the ball. Engineers from Sii Poland are creating a unique new type of robot that will allow players to see the racket and learn how to use this information for even better training. The work has started and will last at least until the end of the year. Meanwhile players in Wrocław are already using a simple TIBHAR robot.
– Training with the table tennis machine is great, but it also means that many balls can fill an entire room quickly. A new type of ball collecting robot that uses image recognition will be more agile and intelligent than conventional vacuum cleaning robots. This will allow you to resume training faster and increase safety during the game – emphasizes Michał Wagner. As part of the project implemented in the Passion Sponsorship Program, we are also planning robotics workshops for employees’ children and, of course, demonstration lessons with our robot! – he sums up.
Ambition and Team Spirit drive action
For over a month, all employees of the Wrocław office have had access to training with a ping pong robot and it’s very popular. The branch’s table tennis community has grown from 32 to 48 active players.
At the same time, the 3D printing needed for the development of Sii’s robot is underway: in the room set aside for the robotics lab, engineers have set up and tested two 3D printers. The design team is constantly growing: 3 people have now joined who will support the team from the software side.
– The implementation of the Robotics Workspace project is possible thanks to a grant obtained from the Passion Sponsorship Program, for which Sii Poland allocates approximately PLN 500,000 every year – says Katarzyna Domańska, CSR Manager, who is responsible for the Program. I’m glad that together with sports and cultural passions, we also implement technological ones and that they allow us to develop the key competencies of our engineers. At the same time, interdisciplinary teams are formed that implement projects, such as the construction of a racing car simulator in Gdańsk or the construction of a sumo-robot in Katowice – she adds.
Do you want to develop your technical, sports, and cultural competencies with the support of the Passion Sponsorship Program? Do you want to share your technological hobby with your friends and teammates? Check offers and apply!