How Nikolay Nikiforov was shown football playing robots and offered to substitute Russian squad by them

Kazan Federal University Supervisory Council's meeting took place at university before which the federal minister was shown Tatarstan developments

How Nikolay Nikiforov was shown football playing robots and offered to substitute Russian squad by them Photo: kzn.ru

Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov and Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications of Russia Nikolay Nikiforov discussed Innopolis's development on 6 April, then headed to surprise at new technological developments of KFU and chair the university's supervisory council. Together with the delegation Realnoe Vremya's correspondent visited an exhibition of engineering achievements and saw how the functionaries joyfully waited for a football playing robot to kick the ball by telling jokes about the Russian national team's failure.

Nikiforov was shown his alma mater's developments

The General Administration for Traffic Safety's workers welcomed at the entrance of the Engineering Institute of the Kazan Federal University on 6 April, while people in uniform monitored the very entrance to the building. The next meeting of the university's supervisory council, which took place behind closed doors and was chaired by Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications of Russia Nikolay Nikiforov, Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov and KFU rector Ilshat Gafurov, was the reason for it. A visit to an exhibition with the university's achievements in technological developments preceded the VIP's meeting on the programme.

In the expectation of the delegation, the university's students were humbly sitting at school tables on the first floor among new appliances for production that erupted metal chips, an industrial KUKA robot was idly riding far from them. Other functionaries also waited for the arrival of Nikiforov and Minnikhanov and Gafurov – former Health Minister of Tatarstan and today's KFU rector's adviser Adel Vafin appeared as one of the first people in the building in a good mood. The head of the Kazan city administration also came beforehand.

Much more people in tailored costumes appeared together with the first persons. Director General of TAIF GC Albert Shigabutdinov and Vice-Rector on Engineering of the university Nail Kashapov heard out the information about the test site of digital industrial technologies in the first row together with the federal minister, Tatarstan president and KFU rector. Minister of Informatisation and Communications of the Republic of Tatarstan Roman Shaikhtudinov whom Minister of Economy of Tatarstan Farid Abdulganiyev joined later during the visit to the exhibition was behind them. On the exhibition, one couldn't help but notice smiling deputy Prime Minister of Tatarstan Leyla Fazleyeva.

Director General of TAIF GC Albert Shigabutdinov and Vice-Rector on Engineering of the university Nail Kashapov heard out the information about the test site of digital industrial technologies in the first row together with the federal minister, Tatarstan president and KFU rector. Photo: kzn.ru

How functionaries were glad about football playing robots

The most interesting part of the exhibition was located on the third floor of the institute where tens of robots were under the eye of students and supervisors. All began to move and shake when the delegation came. While Nikiforov listened about educational robots, which resembles big Lego figures, with Minnikhanov, another robot was working on foot – it was erecting a construction of wooden blocks. But the announcement of a football game of robots interested the first persons the most. Here Rustam Minnikhanov joked about the Russian football players who could be substituted by robots. And Ilshat Gafurov presupposed it would be even cheaper than maintaining real athletes. Almost everybody stirred up in the performance match between robots – either because long-awaited spring came or because there was a good mood, as it was Friday, and functionaries in blue costumes competed making wise remarks and smiled to each other.

There were enough reasons for jokes because they couldn't see a close fight of robots on the pitch – the potential substitution of real Russian football players didn't manage to find the ball itself and was simply hanging around.

''They're looking for a ball!'' a spectator commented with enthusiasm.

''It's our national team!'' another one said. Their colleagues appreciated the joke and welcomed it with a friendly laughter.

''They saw the minister and got confused,'' a third one supposed.

After a minute of expectation, two of the robots finally managed to reach the ball, then the whole delegation went to look at another example of the marvel of engineering – robot-operator.

The announcement of a football game of robots interested the first persons the most. Photo: tatarstan.ru

Kazan signs agreement on robots with Magnitogorsk

The robot-operator is an anthropomorphic development with remote control. In this case, a student who had a construction upon his shirt, which looked like a harness, was a management centre. Its ends resembled gloves on arms, which enabled to send signals to the robot that repeated the person's movements.

Expecting Nikiforov and Minnikhanov's visit, design engineer Ramil Khisamutdinov told about it in detail. According to him, this development belongs to Android Equipment Scientific and Research Centre, which was located in Magnitogorsk.

''Have you ever heard of the robot Fyodor? It's famous, the president meets with it quite often,'' the university's employer tried to clarify who the developer was.

By the way, only a lazy person could haven't heard of Fyodor. It's called the first Russian anthropomorphic robot. It was created by Android Equipment Scientific and Research Centre in partnership with the Fund of Perspective Research on demand of the Ministry for Emergency Situations of Russia. The media follow its achievements no less than that of real people – by googling the name of the rescue robot, one can learn when it did the splits for the first time, learnt how to shoot with a gun and when it is going to be sent to space.

Let's go back to the robot-operator. In Kazan, engineers use it to teach students and simultaneously help to improve it by sending all offers to Magnitogorsk.

''They provide us with equipment, while we work with them and, consequently, we see where something needs to be finished because they don't have mathematicians, we don't have programmers here. We work together – we write ToR, while they finish off. Consequently, there is an exchange,'' the engineer explained the scheme of work. Now they are finishing this sample by trying to get feedback, so that the operator who managed the robot felt its actions.

The meeting of the KFU Supervisory Council was behind closed doors. Photo: kzn.r

The scientist told about his activity with real passion by explaining all details to all laymen. It was also obvious he believed not only in his work but also his students. Ramil Khisamutdinov himself says about them as follows: they have everything – both knowledge and base – to continue dealing with robotics and make the country a leader in this area.

While the conversation was going on, a young student in an ironed white shirt and robo-gloves continued waiting for his shining moment. Bored, he immediately replied to Realnoe Vremya's correspondent's actions and bent the glove for handshake, thus sending a signal to the robot that immediately shook the hand of the person who had given his hand as welcome.

No entrance

Sadly, the journalists couldn't see the reaction of the federal minister of informatisation and communications and Tatarstan president to the marvel of engineering. Neither did they manage to cover the route through the exhibition together with the delegation. The meeting of the KFU Supervisory Council was behind closed doors. Nikolay Nikiforov gave the floor to Rustam Minnikhanov first who noticed they saw serious changes, the university created new skills and promised to support them.

After that, the doors for the media closed, and the supervisory council remained to discuss the opening of KFU together with Rusfond of the Kazan (Volga Region) registry of potential bone marrow donors, the fulfilment of last year's plan for the university's financial and economic activity and changes in 2018-2020, performance of the next stage of the road map of KFU's Competitiveness Enhancement Programme in 2018-2020 and other issues.

By Maria Gorozhaninova
Tatarstan