Croatian Robot ”Pepper” is Main Attraction of European Researchers’ Night in Pula

Lauren Simmonds

Pepper the Croatian robot graced Pula with her presence.

In addition to getting to spend time with the humanoid robot owned by Croatian Telecom, visitors who took to the beautiful Istrian city of Pula made origami, learned some of the Japanese language, as well as old glagolitic, and played various interactive games.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of September, 2018, the European Researchers’ Night was held under the organisation of Pula’s Juraj Dobrila University at the City Forum, with the aim to enable citizens of all ages, especially those of younger generations, to acquire some new knowledge and further their interest in science.

The night is, in fact, a long-standing European Commission initiative aimed at popularising science, raising awareness of its importance in society, and placing special emphasis on the importance of scientific and research work and on both European and national policies within science. The aofrementioned Pula University participates as one of its eighteen partners, and the project is also conducted in the Croatian cities of Rijeka, Zagreb, and Split.

There were ten different scientific forums present at the Pula forum and every one offered varying, interesting content to its audience. The topics were japanology, marine science, robotics, materials from Croatian and Latin script, and STEM, visitors could also engage with a robot, view a 3D microscope, play interactive games, learn old glagolitic script, hunt for treasure, create origami, and much more.

The drector of the Scientific and Technical Institute ”Visio”, operating within the Juraj Dobrila University, Sven Maričić, pointed out that Pula University has been intensifying its role in the STEM area for several years now.

“Our startups are the winners of European awards and acknowledgments, and recently we returned from Sweden where we had the opportunity to present our results at the Royal Institute. We’re especially proud of the large 3D print lab. We’re aware that in our society, it’s very necessary to have visions and to then share them with our partners, our associates, but also with those who will become that, be they people or technological innovations,” Maričić said.

Along with the Ministry of Science and Education and many other partners, this project is also strongly supported by Croatian Telecom, which shares the same belief as the University of Pula, that strengthening the knowledge and skills of the STEM segment is crucial in fostering an innovative and smart society that can take full advantage of its existing technology.

“We, through our activities, really live for STEM. The aim of our projects and cooperation with educational institutions is, among other things, the exchange of knowledge and practice in the STEM field, so we’re often available to students for participation in international projects since the first years of study, the possibility of scholarships and professional mentoring, and as one of the largest companies in Croatia that employs STEM experts at all times, are at the centre of the latest global technological trends and our experts are directly involved in the development of the network(s) and the technology of the future,” stated Sandra Kovačić-Vešligaj from Croatian Telecom, who brought ”Pepper” the robot to Pula. Pepper is otherwise most famous Croatian female humanoid robot, and she was also naturally a major attraction that evening in Pula.

Pepper belongs to the group of a more advanced generation of humanoid robots, she knows how to speak Croatian fluently, she can also make gestures and control her hands and body. Pepper is 1.2m tall, weighs 30kg, and is equipped with 12 sensors, four microphones, two loudspeakers, as well as two cameras on the head and in the mouth.

The organisers of this popular event wanted to encourage young people to be proactive and curious, and not to be afraid of making mistakes. They wanted to highlight that with a positive attitude, persistence, and opportunities offered to them, they have the ability to adopt new knowledge and skills.

If we’re judging from the popularity of this event, then it was indeed a total success.


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