Robofest 2016: Kids show-off engineering talents at Russian robotics fair

From entertaining humanoid-robots to smart machines, created to lend a hand with various jobs from gardening to construction, robots of all styles and sizes have been presented at the VIII Annual Robotics Festival – all constructed by kids and students.

The festival is held within the framework of the Moscow International Education Fair (IMSO 2016), organized by the Charity Foundation “Volnoye Delo” and Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science, supported by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives.

The festival is also a platform for the final intramural stage of a national competition dubbed Youth Scientific and Technical Art. It has a record number of participants this year – about 3500 school children and students as part of some 1,000 teams from 69 regions of Russia and the three more countries. Foreign teams participate in the competition for the fourth time.

The competition is held across 27 disciplines – also a record for the year. The winners in the individual disciplines are to represent Russia at the upcoming international robotic competitions in the US, Europe and Southeast Asia.

The festival has taken place since 2009 within the framework of the “Robotics: Engineering and Technical Personnel of Innovative Russia” program. Its participants are pupils and students aged from six to 30. The purpose of the program, according to the organizers, is to train new engineers for Russian industry at the national level, starting from their school years. Over the past seven years about 30 percent of the program’s participants became students of technical universities and currently receive training in professional engineering.

The festival also has close ties with the World Skills competition, with its own branch of it dubbed “Junior Skills: professionals of the future”. Apart from that they hold summer Robocross competitions with Moscow’s Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology.