Robot-Chien @Fete De La Science – The Robot Dog at Science Fair


In the picture Olli-Pekka Nikka, robot dog #BadProbotDog, and Pauliina Ojakangas. The Paris Science Center in the back is Europe’s largest center for presenting technology and research.

BadProbotDog once again touched the french hearts! In an event organized at the Paris Science Center in early October, children and families had the opportunity to get to know science in interesting ways. But what is “ootogolo”? And how do you manage with English in France – or do you? Welcome to read our travel diary!

Our robot dog visited the VivaTech fair in Paris in June 2022. We received an invitation to Fete de la science -event organized 7. -9. October in the Paris Science Museum. This time, however, we set off with a slightly different lineup: our main star #BadProbotDog and Probot team members Olli-Pekka Nikka and Pauliina Ojakangas, who writes here behind the screen.

We headed to the fair to present a robot dog, or mobile robotics, to families, especially children and young people. We wanted to present robotics with a human approach suitable for all ages. Friday’s event day was aimed at school and kindergarten groups, while on Saturday and Sunday the science museum was filled with families. Almost 50,000 visitors were expected for the entire weekend, so it was a slightly bigger event.

In addition to packing and reserving tickets, departure preparations included e.g. lesson planning. We planned a performance-style teaching lesson for the fair, where we explained what mobile robots are, and how and what for a robot dog can be used. We ran the show several times during the weekend.

BadProbotDog was sent to the fair well packed in a comfortable transport box with treats, well in advance the week before the fair.

The trip to Paris went surprisingly well. When traveling to Paris for the first time, of course, there was excitement in the air, but the trip went smoothly with a good sense of humor. People were able to follow our trip from Probot Oy’s Instagram account, and we started the Insta capture already on the way. Filming vlogs for Probot’s Instagram turned out to be a fun and well-liked way to let everyone in Finland join the fair.

Woman is taking a selfie with a robot dog and her colleague.
We shared stories from the fair on Instagram.

On Friday, we arrived at the fair in good time before the start of the event. We were welcomed with open arms. Even the robot dog had survived its journey without any problems and was already impatiently waiting for us at our exhibition stand. We got to know the premises and the stage on which we held the performance-style lessons during the weekend. To our delight, two translators also arrived, and they helped us throughout the weekend. There is not that many fluent English speaking people in France, so our translators translated our English speech into French and the French’s speech into English. The help was invaluable, and during the weekend we also got to learn a lot about French culture by talking with our translators.

Friday went by with school and kindergarten groups. The groups toured the exhibition center, and the robot dog immediately aroused a lot of interest and admiration among children and adults. As the dog performed tricks, the children cheered and clapped, demanding more tricks. We also had our first performance on stage.

At our exhibition stand, it was also possible to try controlling the robot dog yourself. Controlling the dog is surprisingly easy and it went well for everyone. We also toured the exhibition center with the robot dog every day. During the rounds, you could always get a couple of meters ahead, until curious people surrounded the robot dog. So the rounds were very popular, and we only returned to our point when the robot dog’s battery ran out.

A robot dog stands in front of two large robots. In front of the big robots are movable metal letters that form the word ROBO
During the rounds, #BadProbotDog also met relatives like KUKA robots!

On saturday, many families came to the fair, and some of Friday’s school and kindergarten guests returned to the fair with the whole family. We especially remember the little boy, who was already completely enhanced about the robot dog on Friday. On Saturday, the whole family came back, because the boy wanted to see the robot dog again. It was heartwarming to see how excited and curious the little human was with the robot dog.

Robot dog poses in front of a family of four.
The visitors got to know the robot dog together with the whole family.

We also experienced small moments of suspense as we had to perform a veterinary check-up on the robot dog. We noticed that the screws in the dog’s legs were a little loose. Together with the translators, we hunted for tools, and luckily our colleagues at the fair rushed to help. With cooperation, we quickly got the dog in shape!

The robot dog is lying on the table and the screws on its leg are being tightened.
Coffee and a toolkit can go a long way. #BadProbotDog behaved calmly throughout the procedure.

On Sunday, the fair was filled with families again, and there were a lot of guests. Some familiar visitors from the previous days were also there on Sunday. We also performed for the public on Saturday and Sunday. The stands were full, and after the show, a crowd followed the robot dog to our stand. We also received a lot of interesting questions about the robot dog – it was fun to see how detailed questions the children were asking too! We answered questions like how the robot dog runs, does it have a sense of smell, and how long it takes to build it. We also organized dance performances with a robot friend.

At the end of Sunday, we packed the robot dog ready for the trip home and headed to our hotel to rest before our return flights on Monday. After a long weekend, we felt tired but happy, and our legs felt the kilometers traveled both at the fair and outside it.

At the fair, we learned a lot about performing, culture, people, and robotics. We also learned French: the robot dog is Robot-chien and the sticker is “ootogolo” -or autocollant. By the way, the #BadProbotDog stickers were very popular, we shared thousands of them! In the middle of the trip, we also learned that in France you can drink tap water and it is not necessary to drag bottles of water from the store (we still prefer wine though).

The event, which attracted 50,000 fair visitors over three days, was a great opportunity that exceeded our expectations! The best thing about the trip was all the amazing encounters with different people. At the end of the days, our cheeks hurted because we smiled so much at the fair. We also got to know some people, and #BadProbotDog may return to France soon!

We thank the Paris Technology Museum, the translators and the whole team for this trip! Merci beaucoup!

Psst… If you missed the fair vlogs, you can find them on Instagram in the highlights section of the @Probotoy profile. You can join the fair runs on TikTok @BadProbotDog. Also check out the new @badprobotdog instagram account!

Probot Oy – Specialist in Robotics.

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