VK Fest: Hi-Tech Entertainment, VR Gaming and ITMO Zone
This summer’s largest open air, the VK Fest, is taking place in St. Petersburg. Popular bloggers, actors, athletes, artists and musicians performed on stage and conducted workshops. As usual, ITMO University participated in the festival with its own interactive zone. This year, it included three major sites: a future career expo, University of Children’s lectorium and a technological playroom.
VK Fest is a most comprehensive event. People come here to communicate with popular bloggers, participate in sports contests and training sessions, attend live performances, workshops and different competitions. Innovations are also a hot topic at the festival. St. Petersburg’s major universities, as well as various hi-tech companies, use this opportunity to present their most advanced inventions to the guests of VK Fest.
Future careers expo
At one of ITMO’s sites, everyone who has yet to choose their line of work or wants to change it could get a taste of the professions of the future. The expo’s participants were offered an opportunity to create their own labyrinth of lasers and mirrors, assemble a simple telescope, and study the operating principles of a mobile microscope - a small device that can be attached to a smartphone and make photos of magnified objects.
Information technologies and robotics are expected to become the drivers of the new industrial revolution. At ITMO’s interactive zone, everyone could try to program their first robot with the help of a TRENDuino microcontroller and make it perform simple actions. By installing a special app, the festival’s guests could download a game and become “hackers”: according to the plot, each player had to detect other hackers and neutralize them. What’s more, ITMO’s Department of Mechatronics presented a prototype of a robot with telepresence functions. The robot is capable of speech and movement, making it useful for conducting tours or meetings at production sites.
ITMO zone’s guests could also try out a prototype of an AR headset. The headset can be synced with a smartphone, so that a dedicated app would assist users with particular actions at production sites. The technology exhibition also featured different devices produced using a 3D printer at the university’s FabLab.
Lastly, the festival’s guests could take a quick test in order to learn which profession of the future suits them most, and representatives of ITMO’s admission committee consulted prospective students to help them choose a program that suits them best.
Having decided upon your future career, why not try the most high-tech entertainment? ITMO University zone offered the festival’s guests to play a VR tower defense game developed by Master’s students of the Videogame Technologies program as their course project.
Specialists from the eScience Research Institute came up with an idea of turning trampoline tumbling into a computer game. All players wear a bright green jacket that can be recognized by a machine vision system. When they jump, a digital character repeats their movements in-game, where it has to jump to reach higher platforms while travelling across a futuristic city. The higher the platform is, the higher the player needs to jump.
“Of all the different novelties at ITMO’s interactive zone, I liked the trampoline the most. First of all, it is a result of several applied research projects; it also symbolizes the interaction between the virtual world and reality, which is one of the university’s areas of focus. Of course, what we presented here are just some of our results. To my mind, in this heat we should have also offered some innovative refreshments from our specialists in the field of food science,” commented ITMO Rector Vladimir Vasilyev, who was also present at the festival.
Among other recreational devices presented at ITMO’s zone were Orbi Prime: the world’s first sunglasses capable of recording 4k 360-degree panoramic videos. The sunglasses were developed by a resident of ITMO’s Technopark and named one of the best inventions at the CES exhibition of advanced technology and innovations in Las Vegas.
ITMO University’s lecturers often participate in developing lectures for school students as part of the University of Children project, and the university acts at one of its sites. Such lectures are designed to tell the children about the research conducted at the university in simple and comprehensible terms. Lectures in a similar format were also delivered at ITMO zone at the VK Fest. For instance, astrophysicist Vasiliy Dommes talked about the modern theories on the existence of parallel universes.
Among other speakers for the lectorium were: an engineer who gave prognoses on the invention of flying cars, an optics professor who described the peculiar properties of mirrors, as well as a philologist with an analysis of a popular rapper’s texts. The lectorium will continue to work throughout the festival; on its second day, its lecturers will cover such topics as growing neurons in vitro, the real story of alpha particles, as well as the process of emergence of memes.