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Pet a Robocat and Talk to R2D2: HSE Faculty of Computer Science Holds Robotics Fest

At the end of April, the HSE Faculty of Computer Science organised its first robotics festival. SBER was a partner of the event, which took place in the atrium of the HSE building on Pokrovsky Bulvar. Yandex and the National Association of Robotics Market Participants were the event's co-organisers. The guests attended lectures from industry experts and interacted with robots on interactive platforms.

Robotics developers presented 12 stands in the atrium, and more than 300 guests—including schoolchildren, students, HSE staff and anyone interested in humanity’s future with robots and artificial intelligence—attended the event.

The stars of the festival were the robots: guests could pet a robocat or talk to a copy of R2D2 from Star Wars. The participants could also join organised groups and listen to the robots’ creators talk about their developments.

Other exhibits included Yandex Rover (a delivery robot for transporting small parcels from Yandex), the PULSE collaborative robot designed to automate the work of industrial and commercial enterprises and research training projects, and an in-line robot for non-destructive testing and cleaning of complex branched sections of pipelines created by Rozum Robotics and TUBOT.

The Robotics Group and ALVI Labs represented the HSE Faculty of Computer Science at the fest. The following projects were developed by the Robotics Group: the CartPole robot (a pendulum with a metal rod that needs to be lifted and held up by left–right movements), the Truck (a small car that can move on autopilot), and the Whiteboard Bot (a robot that erases writing on a blackboard).


ALVI Labs is a member of the FCS Entrepreneurs Club. They are developing a motor interface for people who have had arms amputated. The interface presented at the festival can also be used to improve bionic prostheses.

Irina Plisetskaya, Deputy Dean for Development, Finance and Administration of the FCS, Vladimir Takh, head of the direction at the Sber Robotics Laboratory, and Olga Mudrova, Executive Director of the National Association of Robotics Market Participants, delivered a welcome speech at the festival. They spoke about the importance of robotics development and the challenges that developers face. They also noted that it is important to popularise robotics and organise such festivals.

The festival’s guests attended lectures on industrial and service robotics, drones, robots and much more. For example, Yandex spoke about autonomous driving technology, including robotaxis and robo-delivery, while SBER representatives talked about robotics in business now and its development in the future. Mikhail Vladimirov, domain leader at Sber Robotics Laboratory, also delivered a lecture.

The participants shared their impressions of the event:

Alexander Shirokovskikh

© HSE University

'I am an 11th-grade student at School No. 6 in Mytishchi. I am fond of robotics, so I decided to take part in this festival; it's interesting. I attended a lecture about self-driving taxis and Yandex robots. The SBER robocat and their robot that draws pictures generated by the Kandinsky image generator impressed me the most.'

Adrian Ryzhov, 6th-grade student, Kirill Ryzhov, engineer

© HSE University

Kirill Ryzhov:

'There are a lot of speakers here; it is an interesting insight into the Russian market of industrial equipment and robotics. I am glad that this event was organised, and I hope that it will be held every year. We came here from the Moscow School of Programmers. I was interested in all the lectures on industrial equipment. I learnt about a lot of new Russian companies and realised that everything is developing quite well. I really liked it.'

Adrian Ryzhov:

'I am interested in Yandex self-driving technologies, robotaxis and robodelivery. I don't really understand robotics, and this is the topic I find the most interesting. It affects our lives.'

Stanislav Rozanov, CEO of TUBOT

'TUBOT is a robotics company that develops and manufactures in-line robots—a complex technological product. This is the result of the work of designers, circuit engineers, electronics engineers, programmers, assemblers, CNC machine masters and other engineers whom Russia lacks. We are facing a shortage of personnel and decided to work closely with specialised universities to select graduate students in engineering-related fields for employment in our company. We are interested in the university's events related to student games, job fairs, specialised festivals and anything else designed to help students find employment, as well as popularising robotics.

The Robotics Festival organised by the HSE Faculty of Computer Science is a good example of interaction between business and students. This is our first experience this, and we find it successful; we noted real interest among students regarding working in our company. We want to thank the organisers for the opportunity to participate in this fest, share experience, demonstrate best practices and receive feedback, primarily from students who want to engage in robotics in the future.'

Irina Plisetskaya, Deputy Dean of the FCS

© Zhenya Bashkardina / HSE University

'This is the first time the Robotics Festival has been held by the Faculty of Computer Science, but I hope that the event will become a good tradition, an annual landmark event in HSE University life.

The festival programme turned out to be rich and interesting for undergraduates, doctoral students, and elementary school students alike. We invited 14 leading Russian companies in the robotics market and educational centres, who presented modern robots and delivered lectures. In addition, two teams from the faculty demonstrated their achievements: the FCS Robotics Group and the AlVI Labs team from the FCS Entrepreneurs Club. The teams were created by our graduate and doctoral students, which proves once again that FCS is a place where you don’t just study, but also make your ideas and dreams come true.

We are already thinking about the next festival, as it will be held in the year the FCS turns 10 years old. I would like to thank SBER, the partner of the festival, for supporting our endeavours, as well as the event co-organisers—Yandex and the National Association of Robotics Market Participants. I hope that next year we will gather again in the atrium on Pokrovsky Bulvar and present even more achievements in the field of robotics.'

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