Fighting Robots to hoverboards; Roboverse VR Expo offers unique experience

A child interacts with a small robot at the expo. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: Is Mayavi really a superhero? What exactly is the issue between Luttappi and the duo of Raju and Radha? Does Raju still have a crush on Radha? These questions pertain to characters from Balarama, a series that the newer generation may not be familiar with. These queries are posed by a group of college students and to their surprise, they are receiving amusing answers from an AI-powered chatbot.

The Roboverse VR Expo, organized by Manorama Online in Kochi, showcases several such innovative experiments in Robotics, AI, and Virtual Reality. The expo, which began on Wednesday, will conclude on June 17, with entry hours from 10 am to 10 pm.
A large number of people are flocking to the venue to witness the robot battles held at regular intervals. As robots rush in, face off, and push each other, spectators enthusiastically cheer on their favourites.

One of the expo's highlights is the robot dogs, which behave like hyperactive pets by jumping, somersaulting, and running around the expansive space inside the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, the exhibition venue. These three puppy robots, from the Go1 and Go2 categories, have become fast friends with visiting children as well.
Celebrity stars like Anarkali Marakkar and Gokul Suresh, who visited on the first day, too spent time cuddling and playing with these robot puppies.

"The expo primarily aims to dispel fears about robots. Unlike most exhibitions where viewers simply observe the robots, here visitors can touch and interact with them. This helps bridge the gap between humans and robots," says Akhila Gomez, Innovations Head of Unique World, which provides technical assistance for the expo.

Another popular segment is 3D printing, where visitors watch in awe as various structures are created before their eyes. Experts are on hand to explain the technology in simple terms.
Visitors are welcomed into the expo by humanoid robots from I Hub Robotics, which entertain guests by extending greetings and asking questions. Some of these humanoids even can sing.

One of the most entertaining sights at the expo is people of all ages, including senior citizens, taking rides on hoverboards. Despite some falling, they persist in completing their rides, making this one of the most visited areas.

Children with a robot at the expo. Photo: Manorama

What components make up a robot? How are robots manufactured and how do they function? The Roboverse Expo provides facilities to answer these questions, allowing visitors to learn more and even try their hand at robotics. Experts are available to explain how AI is applied in robotics.

The expo also offers a chance to experience the wonders of virtual reality. Dr. Tessy Thomas, former director of DRDO Aeronautical Systems, inaugurated the event on Wednesday. The event is organized in collaboration with Jain University. Among the speakers were Erik af Hällström, Consul General of Finland in India; Tom Joseph, Director of Jain University; PVC Dr J. Latha; Dr Jiji Kuruttukulam, Medical Director of Rajagiri Hospital; and Santosh George Jacob, Coordinating Editor of Manorama Online.

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