Robotics and Automation in Cuban School

During the evaluation of the educational program implemented in Cuba, President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez insisted on the importance of the gradual introduction of automation and robotics at different educational levels.

Although these specialties are not new in Cuba, the present goal is to encourage their study and train human capital to interact with machines efficiently.

Automation in Cuba: starting points

The sugar industry pioneered automation in Cuba — in the mid-19th century — by adopting continuous process technologies and of mass production, according to the research «Automation, robotics, and computer systems. Brief History of Automation in Cuba», presented at the 2nd International Scientific Convention of Science, Technology, and Society UCLV 2019.

After the triumph of the Revolution, with the creation of the Ministry of Industries and its Directorate of Automation and Electronics, soon after the Industrial Automation Center — thanks to the forward-looking approach of Che Guevara — this task became a specialty.

First it was the School of Automation (1962), four years later the Department of Automatic Control was created within the Department of Technical Cybernetics of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba and, in that very same year of 1966, the studies of Electrical Engineering introduced the specialty of Regulation and Automatic Control.

Experts from former Czechoslovakia and USSR, taught subjects related to automatic control, first at the University of Havana, the Universidad de Oriente (Eastern University), and later the UCLV (University Marta Abreu of Las Villas).

Robotics in Cuba

In the report on the Working Group for the development of Robotics in Cuba, presented at the 2nd International Scientific Convention of Science, Technology, and Society UCLV 2019, it was pointed out that Robotics in Cuba is characterized by “its poor impact on the improvement of the quality of production and service, productivity growth, energy and raw material savings, humanization of work, and life quality.”

Hence the call of the nation’s leadership to boost the field by identifying, in the first place, those areas that can assimilate faster all the changes, especially on food production, savings, and health.

As a premise, there is the Robotics Development Group, coordinated directly by the Ministry of Higher Education and the UCLV, which will be responsible for sharing expertise with the Technological University of Havana (CUJAE) and the Universidad de Oriente to exchange with technology leaders in search of process automation.

In recent statements to ACN, Doctor of Science Luis Hernandez Santana, professor at UCLV Department of Automatic Control, detailed the expertise of this university in mobile robotics with self-driving, aerial, and water vehicles, inserted in industrial or service processes.

The researcher pointed out that Cuba, in the very short term, can show results in the sugar industry with those equipment with advanced cultivation systems, such as harvesters and fertilizer supply machines that, with a computer on board, can perform automated functions. This work, he said, is a joint effort with the National Sugarcane Research Institute.

Hernández Santana, also a scientific coordinator within the National Group for the Development of Robotics in Cuba, agrees that the current population dynamics on the Island need to automate processes to ease the work of human beings, while still thinking about the development of domestic robotics for the care of the elderly.

In the Technological University of Havana José Antonio Echeverría (CUJAE), the Instrumentation and Control Laboratory, equipped with state-of-the-art technology for the flow measurement — widely used in Cuban petrochemical industry — has been in place for two years now.

CUJAE also ventures into the design of algorithms for mobile robotics aiming at processing images for the avoidance of obstacles, trajectory planning, and the self-assessment of the positioning of robots.

An interesting project linked to health takes place in Santiago de Cuba. There, the Universidad de Oriente develops a prototype robotic exoskeleton that brings in already the first positive results in patients who have the “shoulder pain” condition.

The goal is to be able to use it in the rehabilitation of hemiplegic patients because of a cerebrovascular disease. This is a joint research between the Center for Medical Biophysics of the Universidad de Oriente and the Juan Bruno Zayas Clinic-Surgical Hospital.

Although the nation began working since the 1980s in the automation of processes, the obsolesce of several equipment from the former socialist bloc as well as the high demands set nowadays by international quality standards, constitute conditioning factors for automation and robotics, which continue to pave their ways in the country, especially after that first seed was actually sown in Cuba’s educational system.

It will not only make us more competitive in terms of exports — paramount for our economy — but it will also allow us to place ourselves in the face of the so-called Industry 4.0. Simultaneously, both will play a more decisive role in the humanization of work and both will improve the quality of life of Cubans, who must face the restrictions of the U.S. blockade in this field as well.

Robotics and Automation in the classroom

With the introduction of the subjects Robotics and Automation in different educational levels, the nation looks forward to creating multidisciplinary learning environment.

According to Granma newspaper, the experience gathered in robotics and automation by the Enrique José Varona Pedagogical University, the University of Pinar del Rio, Oriente, UCLV, and CUJAE will be considered.

The goal is that children and teenagers may develop their scientific and engineering intuition, encouraging their research and troubleshooting skills.

Do you imagine kids learning about robotics? Can you picture the change this society may experience? Can you imagine when people start searching another way to solve common problems? The Cuban president asked. We can truly picture that. And it will not be sci-fi, but development, quality of life.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

Andy Rodríguez: “The adrenaline of reaching when heat is on motivates me”

He has become one of the safest firemen of Industriales and the national pre-teams, notwithstanding that in the playoffs of the 59th National Baseball Series his job was not very good at all. We’re talking about Andy Rodríguez, a willowy 22-year-old pitcher from the Cuban capital, who’s preparing himself to face the U-23 Baseball World Cup in Honduras and Nicaragua.

In the team’s headquarters at the Latinoamericano stadium, CubaSí could exchange with the fast blue closer.

We’ve always talked about pitching specialization, with more force since almost a decade ago, but we haven’t raised full awareness here yet. However, if a pitcher has well defined roles in that sense, it’s you. How do you prepare yourself for that role?

I’ve always considered that training is fundamental. The game is similar to it, and if you try your hardest in training, then things work out well in the games; even more when you know how to use your resources and are focused on doing your job…. That has helped me at the time of going out to pitch in those tense times.

There’s a lot of difference with regard to last season’s Andy. What has Andy incorporated and what does that growth respond to?

I think that perseverance in every practice session has given me that. I strive and have managed to grow with the help of my teachers and the rest of the staff. Whenever I go out I try to do things better than the previous day. I feel very well physically, with priority in running to constantly improve my warm-up.

As a strong point I have my fastball, over 92 mph. I am trying to add other pitches to my repertoire like the mastery of the changeup and the two-seam or four-seam fastball… They’re essential and help me solve situations, dominate hitters and widen my technical-tactical thinking with an eye on the games, although I still have to gain a lot in both distribution and selection of my commands.

Do you only depend on speed? It happens that most closers rely on their fastball.

I think so, although I acknowledge that sometimes I’ve used it too much, and it is when rivals have batted my pitches better. That’s why, the need to incorporate those pitches, which I’ve been working on.

Above all, for the fact that I’m a pitcher whose launch angle, almost entirely, is above the arm.  

I see you’ve gained lean muscle. Did you prioritize physical work with an eye on the 59th Series?

Yes, I did, physique is important. When you’re tall, gaining lean muscle almost always turns into increasing speed by 1 or 2 miles. That’s just happened to me. Now, I do not find it very hard to keep my fastball above 92 mph. In addition, I feel better on the mound, just in case my relief prologs for more than one or two innings.

Pitchers who you have watched closely and mostly in your short sports career?

I rely a lot on the mates that I’ve had in the national pre-team, mainly to develop my technical-tactical thinking based on their experience. Those are the cases of Lázaro Blanco and Freddy Asiel Álvarez. Thanks to that observation and advices I’ve been able to achieve important things and make Cuba team in a very short time.

The most difficult hitters?

I don’t go onto the box thinking about a complicated hitter. I do not watch them that way. We’re at the same level on the field. I’m going to try hard to dominate them and they do the same on the batter’s box to get a hit. I try to get outs continuously. When the game is hotter motivates me to go out….

What are your expectations from both the U-23 pre-team and the senior pre-team that will face up the Americas Baseball Olympic Qualifier in Arizona?

Expectations are very high. In the U-23 there are many talented boys who are very eager to do everything well for the people, in addition to some who want to strive hard seeking to make up the big team later.

The other pre-team has many stars, baseball players who have played in several levels, with endorsements from many tournaments… I think they’re bracing themselves well and will reach the event in good shape. Batting will be essential in that tournament.

We all want to give the people the joy they’ve deserved so long ago.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamín / CubaSi Translation Staff

Cuban Foreign Minister in Geneva for Human Rights Council

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez is here today to participate in the high-level segment of the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council.

Regarding the meeting starting today at the Geneva headquarters of the United Nations, he said the island will reiterate its commitment to human rights and reject the political manipulation of the issue.

'Cuba will ratify its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights for all; no selectivity, no political manipulation, no double standards', the head diplomat posted on his Twitter account, presiding the delegation of the largest of the Antilles to the event scheduled to end Friday.

It is expected that in the session of the 47 member states council, the minister will denounce the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on his country, a fence that hinders the development of the Caribbean nation and creates difficulties in the daily life of its inhabitants .

According to the Foreign Ministry, Rodriguez will speak before the Council and the Conference on Disarmament, and will hold meetings with senior UN officials.

Likewise, he will dialogue with heads of delegations attending the event and carry out other activities.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba beats Colombia, qualifies for super round of PanAm U-23

Right-handed Brian Chi nearly pitched a perfect game and Cuba beat Colombia 3-0 on Sunday to advance to the super round of the U-23 baseball World qualifying tournament in the American area.

With fastballs over 90 miles, Chi who plays for Havana Industriales back home retired the first 15 hitters in a row in his dominant performance at the Hector 'Chochi' Sosa stadium in Group B that has Tegucigalpa City as the venue.

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Derwin Berbel broke the charm of the dream game by opening the top of the sixth inning with a double against the fence of the right field. From the opposite trench left-handed Enrique Pérez was a worthy rival of the Cuban hurlerafter limiting the offensive of the Cuban artillery to three runs and the same number of hits.

Closer Andy Rodríguez, who like Chi throws for Industriales in Cuban baseball, had some control problems, but he settled down after walking one batter to end up the last inning strking out the last two hitters to win his second save of the tournament. After its narrow victory against Panama in the debut, Colombia this Sunday, plus a crushing Guatemala on Saturday, the Cuban team has barely qualify for the final round in Managua, Nicaragua, that starts on Wednesday.

Before that, it must complete the qualifying round as undefeated when it faces Monday and Tuesday the less competitive squads of Argentina and Honduras.

  • Published in Sports

Cuba commemorates the 102nd anniversary of the founding of the Red

The 102nd anniversary of the founding of the Red Army, 'Day of the Defenders of the Fatherland', was commemorated today in the Mausoleum of the Soviet Internationalist Soldier outside this capital.

The political act and military ceremony was chaired by Army Corps General Álvaro López Miera, first vice minister and chief of the General Staff of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR).

There were also high representatives of the embassies of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, members of the accredited military diplomatic corps on the island and officials of Cuban institutions.

Rear Admiral Carlos Duque, head of Directorate in the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, recalled that there was not a single victory in the early years of the October Socialist Revolution that was not linked to the nascent Red Army.

He said that the historic legacy and combative experiences of the Soviet army also reached the island, multiplying the rebellion of the Cubans in defense of the homeland and the independence of the nation.

He stressed that today the collaboration between the armed forces of Cuba and Russia is strengthened and new paths open in the consolidation of bilateral cooperation.

For his part, Colonel Dmitry Gavrilchik, military attaché of Belarus, said that this February 23 will also commemorate 42 years of the inauguration in Cuba of the Mausoleum of the Soviet Internationalist Soldier.

Gavrilchik explained that this is a day of remembrance of all the heroes of the Red Army and all the Soviets who gave their lives for the freedom and independence of the homeland.

The Belarusian military attaché in Cuba warned that lately there have been attempts to misrepresent major aspects about the role of the Soviet army in the history of the war from 1941 to 1945 against the Nazi forces.

He stressed that this year will be the 75th anniversary of the triumph over fascism and nothing and no one can undermine the value and role of the heroic Red Army in the great victory over fascist Germany.

  • Published in Cuba

Income grows with productive increases is Cuba's priority

Cuban Deputy Prime Minister and head of Economy and Planning, Alejandro Gil, said the eve that the country's policies are aimed at increasing revenues, mainly with more production.

When addressing workers and officials of the Finance and Prices Ministry, he stressed that other priorities of the Cuban Government for the sector are to reduce expenses by increasing savings and achieving a unitary price policy for the state and private sector.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel was present at the meeting; prime minister, Manuel Marrero; member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba and also secretary general of the Central of Workers of Cuba, Ulises Guilarte.

The Minister of Finance and Prices, Meisi Bolaños, read the report that includes the progress and dissatisfactions in fulfilling the missions and objectives of that body in the past year, published the website of the Presidency in Twitter .

The debate has focused on issues such as the revenue collection system, tax policies, monetary circulation, expenses, financial organization and control, and pricing policy.

The Finance and Prices portfolio governs the country's financial, tax, budgetary, treasury, price and credit policies, and among its results, price control regulations issued to contain their increase and prevent abusive prices.

These measures were applied to prevent damaging the population's purchasing power, based on the salary increase applied to the state budget sector in the middle of last year.

They also highlight the progress achieved in implementing the measures approved to reverse non-payment of taxes, strengthen revenue management and restrict tax evasion, said the Cuban News Agency.

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Acosta Danza – Up Close bill – London

This was indeed a case of Up Close and personal with five intimate pieces variously dosed with Cuban fire and flair, served up in the chummy environment of the Linbury Theatre. Two were duets, two were solos and even the larger group piece was essentially a sequence of small-scale dances.

Carlos Acosta formed the company that bears his name around the time of his retirement from The Royal Ballet, in 2016, and this tour comes hot on the heels of the great dancer entering a new career phase as he takes up the role of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s artistic director. There’s a statement of intent in this varied programme making it clear that Acosta Danza is here to stay. Anyone who has seen Yuli, the docu-film of Acosta’s life, will know that he has always harboured a desire to rehabilitate Havana’s long-abandoned National School of Arts and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he achieves this ambition as a future home for Acosta Danza.

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In the meantime, the company made do with this temporary residency at the Linbury, prior to a Dance Consortium tour of the UK in March and April. The choice of work showcased the dynamic athleticism of these extraordinary dancers, none more so than in the opening male duet, El Cruce Sobre El Niàgara (Crossing the Niagara) by Marienella Boán in which Carlos Luis Blanco and Alejandro Silva traverse a thin corridor of light, initially in back-to-back solos and then together, each wearing nothing but a flimsy skin-coloured thong and an expression of intense concentration. This focus represented a tightrope walk across Niagara Falls in movement that was necessarily slow, deliberate and requiring immense strength and balance. Although Boán wrenched as much diversity as possible from approximating dance on a tightrope, the work was rather longer than the material merited.

By contrast, next came an explosion of pure, happy dance, performed by Zeleidy Crespo – who just radiates an enticing energy – in a seven minute solo that left me wanting much more. With Impronta, Catalan choreographer, María Rovira, has captured a folk-infused dynamism that Crespo articulates with warmth, continuing her entertaining performance through the curtain call.

After the interval, there was a rare opportunity to see the work of Rafael Bonachela, much missed here since moving to Australia. His relationship duet was set partly to the ranchera songs of Chavela Vargas (her La Llorona featured in Broken Wings and three of them are in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s full length follow-up, Frida). The Spanish word for a weeping woman (llorona) features strongly in the lyrics and by proving that there is no such thing as a new move in choreography, I realised that the striking image of a woman taking her partner onto her shoulder and then with a shrug, depositing him on the floor had been seen before. Soledad (Loneliness) was made in 2006 but this move returned in the contemporary duet choreographed by Bonachela for Drew McOnie and Hayley Newton to Lady Gaga’s Speechless back in Season 1 of So You Think You Can Dance (2010). If it works make it count again! It must have worked because I remember it clearly a decade after the TV programme in which it featured.

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The group piece was Mundo Interpretado by young Brazilian Choreographer, Juliano Nunes. It possesses a fluid choreographic structure, jumbling the five dancers into every kind of configuration, through this joyous work to the music of José Gavilondo and with a light structure that rose and fell, cutting the vertical space and adding to the intimacy of the event. The dancers were amazing (Crespo again to the fore) and although some of the dances were poetically crafted, there were duller moments within a 25-minute piece that might have been better tightened to twenty.

Just as in the transition between the first two pieces, this longer work was followed by one that was over far too quickly but since it was Russell Maliphant’s Two, which has previously served Dana Fouras and Sylvie Guillem so well, we knew what we were getting and for how long! It is a perfect piece for Acosta to perform at this stage in his career; trapped in Michael Hulls’ box of light, driven along by Andy Cowton’s accelerating score to repeat simple actions with an increasing intensity.

Two serves Acosta as it did Guillem, a vehicle that enables him to maximise the excitement within a confined arena and without any significant travel. He may be alone for these seven minutes but here is a Gladiator and we are all the better for having this one more chance to catch him in action.

  • Published in Culture

The Economy Plan demands rigor and discipline, urges Cuban President

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel stressed that the implementation of the National Economy Plan requires 'rigor, discipline and control'.

Cuban media highlight on Saturday results of a meeting of the Council of Ministers, in which Diaz-Canel pointed out that in carrying out this vital task 'we cannot admit any non-compliance with the excuse of fuel shortage.'

He warned that the shortage might continue, 'so we have to think on ways and how we are going to comply.' He further stressed this is a challenge for all who lead.

Despite the escalation of the U.S. administration hostility and its stubbornness on cutting the fuel supply to the island, the Cuban economy has behaved acceptably so far this year, the President said.

On the economy issue, Deputy Prime Minister Alejandro Gil Fernandez reported that in January exports grew compared to the same period last year, with tobacco and lobster standing out among the best performing export items.

He noted that during the first 30 days of the year there were 393,768 foreign arrivals, for 99.5 percent of the expected figure, and national tourism reached 106.7 percent.

Among other data, the Deputy Prime Minister added that during the first month of the year, 1,629 houses were built, starting the second year of the Housing Policy implementation, following the fulfillment of the first year plan.

  • Published in Cuba
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