Last Saturday it was the 4th edition of EPFL’s Robotic Festival and I was totally overwhelmed to see that according to EPFL’s news it attracted 13.000 visitors! I met families with young children, students of various disciplines, grandparents, groups of teenagers as well as PhD candidates, researchers of different domains and university professors. It was impressive to see how many people came to discover the world of robots despite it was a warm and sunny day when you rather expect people to spend the afternoon on the near lake side in Lausanne.
The “Festival de Robotique” presented a huge variety of shapes and applications of robots and robotic technology. One highlight of the interactive exhibition was the demonstration of the humanoid robot “iCub”. People were so fascinated and waiting in line to personally interact with it, letting it grasp and track one of its toys.
In the afternoon, several teams of young robot constructors playfully competed for the coveted “Roberta Trophy”. Using the Mindstorms kits, every team was sticking together their robot as quickly as possible for the purpose that it can best master all the given challenges. I have never before seen three children in parallel reconstructing the very same Lego robot with this pace. Incredible how speedy six children’s hands can build a robot that actually avoids obstacles and carries an object to a given place!
I was happy to see how many people visited the festival and how enthusiastic children and teens participated in the workshops where they created their own robots.
For some news in French about the “Festival de Robotique”, go and have a look at EPFL’s news:
EPFL news 9th May 2011: “Le Festival de robotique attire toujours plus de curieux”