It was a bright, sunny Wednesday morning when I and Pepper started our journey for Manufacturing Performance Days on 5h of June. MPDays is a B2B summit for manufacturing industries, researchers and service providers. The event helps to bring experts and academia together to discuss about industrial best practices and novel business plans.
We met Ritva Savonsaari (coordinator of AI Hub Tampere) at TähtiAreena to represent AI Hub Tampere. It seemed like a new adventure for me, as I am usually anxious in networking events. When I entered the venue, I saw few familiar faces from Tampere University’s RoboLab, which helped me reduce my anxiety. Soon I progressed towards our booth. I found few other colleagues representing their respective departments. I started to relax myself and unpack Pepper. In the beginning, I was suspicious about Pepper’s acceptance in this event, as most robots in the event were highly efficient industrial robots. How will our cute and adorable humanoid robot be accepted among these giant machines? Nevertheless, therewas a surprise waiting for us. We found another Pepper kicking off the event.
I and Ritva were pleasantly surprised to see how much participants enjoyed this human-robot interaction. This gave us more confidence and we decided to let our Pepper explore the event. Pepper randomly walked around the event promoting AI Hub Tampere. Everybody seemed to enjoy Pepper’s repetitive dialog “I am here to represent AIHub Tampere. It is aimed to help small and medium sized companies to integrate artificial intelligent in their product offering”. We were glad that we brought this little guy to the event.
Many interesting concepts and ideas were showcased in the event, such as AI vs AI racing car, character recognition demo by Wapice and augmented reality based interface for Universal Robot 5 by RoboLab, Tampere University.
Overall, it was a nice experience. My anxiousness reduced to zero after interacting with friendly CEOs and COOs, who were open to innovative ideas. There were no hierarchy or boundaries and everyone was eager to listen to each other’s progress.
The event ended on 6th June 2019. I shared the same ride with Pepper back to the university. I smiled to myself and said “I am happy to be a part of this adventure.”
-Written by Aparajita Chowdhury, Project Researcher in AI Hub-