Playing ping pong with a droid at the Robot Ball

On May 15, the ArtPlay design center in Moscow launched a popular science exhibition called  Robot Ball. For the first time ever, some of the world's most famous robots have come to Moscow together with their creators.

Robot Ball has two platforms. The first is the exhibition itself, while the other consists of various activities: a forum and a play zone set up together with Microsoft Xbox. The exhibition also has a robomarket, where one can buy small robots, and a robocafe, where customers are waited upon and served by real robots. The exhibition itself features some 50 robots of different modifications, presented by 20-30 delegates.

Robot Ball general producer Igor Nikitin explains: "Our goal is to show robotic achievements from the point of view of art. That is why we prepared the exhibition with input from relevant experts: designers and artists. The main trend that we would like to show with this exhibition is a mixture of styles and multidisciplinarity. After all, to make a top-class robot, it takes a programmer, an engineer, a designer, and an artist."

The organizers believe that the robot industry is living through a period of explosive growth: costs have gone down, while the technological base and the capabilities for programming multifunctional robots for various purposes have developed to such a degree that there is now a demand for them on the market. There have now emerged microcontrollers, processors capable to ensuring computation power sufficient for a robot to perform certain functions independently. Service robots are divided into several types: for teaching, for entertainment, and for specific functions.

"Many analysts in Russia and the West believe that over the next seven to 10 years, the service robot industry will become one of the top three most capital-intensive industries in the world. Since none of the countries has a developed robotics market yet, Russia has every chance of becoming one of the leaders in this field as it has all the necessary resources for it, both material and intellectual," said Vladimir Konishev, Neurobotics CEO. 

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