The Robotics Festival at its best

© 2013 EPFL

© 2013 EPFL

This Saturday 20 April, 17 000 visitors attended the 6th edition of the Robotics Festival held at EPFL. Outer space was this year's theme, with a great share of surprises in store.

"This year, all sorts of records have been broken: not only has the amount of exhibitions, workshops and volunteers peaked, but also the display of creativity. Outer space was the theme behind many of the activities held during the festival and visitors were able to admire space exploration robots, robotic telescopes as well as an exhibition on science fiction. They could also catch foam satellites and taste cheese UFOs. A real treat!” exclaimed Francesco Mondada, founder of the Robotics Festival.

Notwithstanding the cold weather for this time of the year, 17 000 visitors responded to the invitation of the festival’s co-organizers: EPFL and NCCR Robotics. This is one of the largest public science events in the country. This year’s edition included fifty exhibition stands, thirty workshops and two robotic competitions. Swiss astronaut Claude Nicollier was the guest of honor, and his three conferences were fully booked.

As in previous editions, EPFL laboratories shared their latest developments with the public. Young visitors were also able to make use of their creativity and skills in numerous workshops. Alongside EPFL there were Universities of applied sciences, vocational schools, associations and startups offering a comprehensive overview of the robotics business and its dynamics in Switzerland.

Another attraction was the handout of astropodes to the first 5000 visitors. This peculiar creature is half slug, half scorpion and moves by swaying its body. Under its toyish appearance, it has definite robotic attributes. Finally, the valuable commitment of 450 volunteers was also for free. In their case, robots are not replacing them anytime soon.