Thousands flocked to Brisbane’s Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Gardens Point campus for a day of fun, education and discovery at Robotronica.
The day was a showcase of robots available now, as well as a glimpse of what is to come in the next ten years and beyond.
Robotronica Creative Director Jonathon Parsons said people enjoyed the opportunity to see what the future may have to offer.
“I think robotics has got the perfect combination of fear and fascination that make it incredibly intriguing to the public,” he said.
“It’s really a chance for the public … to see what’s going to happen to them [as individuals], what’s going to change in their world around them and broader society and
… also really looking at ways you can participate in a robotic society.”
Robotics professor Jonathan Roberts said the day was a great opportunity to take questions from the public.
“We love to talk to them, find out what they love about robots, find out what they don’t like about robots and get them to think about the future,” he said.
“It’s all about the future and trying to show people what’s just around the corner and what’s happening in 10 to 15 years.”
He said robots would become more common as prices fell in the future.
“The robots we’re seeing here are very expensive, but they’re becoming cheaper and cheaper, especially with the toy market reducing the price,” he said.
“It’s like the days of the personal computer, where people started to get cheaper computers at home.
“They’ll start to get cheaper robots, start to play with them and [they will] enter our lives.”
Cyborg wants to see more of his kind in 2020s
Robotronica guest Neil Harbisson may be the first government-recognised “cyborg”, but he will not be the last, he said.
British-born Mr Harbisson, who is colour-blind, had an antenna attached to his head 12 years ago that allows him to perceive colours, from infrared to ultraviolets, as sounds.
He said while his antenna, also known as “the eyeborg”, may be an unusual sight now, it would not be long before more and more people signed up for extra body parts.
“I wanted a new sense for colour and I needed new body part as well. It’s more independent from my other senses,” he said.
“It will soon become normal in society when we see people deciding they want to have an extra sense or extra body part.
“In the 2020s we’ll see more people with new body parts and new senses.”
Mr Harbisson said he received plenty of attention for his antenna, from trouble getting through airport security to overly friendly intoxicated people.
“I get all kinds of reactions,” he said.
“Usually people laugh at me, some people ask and I need to avoid drunk people, especially women, because they pull the antenna sometimes.”
Mr Harbisson has been in Australia the past few weeks and spoke at Perth’s Curtin University earlier this month on his life and beliefs.
Attendees share the fun on social media
From captivating and cute to just plain creepy, the Robotronica festival gave audiences a taste of it all.
From R2D2 and “aquabots”, to cyborgs and coding, Robotronica really had something for everyone.
Attendees shared the fun on social media.
Take a look at some of the more quirky displays from the event.