We have come a long way, but have you ever wondered how it all started?
The idea for Robot Uprising originated in 2017 at Helsinki Think Company and was born from a desire amongst friends to make use of The University of Helsinki’s collection of Lego Mindstorm NXT kits. The best use was envisaged as a fun, independent hackathon-style event over the course of one evening in a low-key, casual environment. Three years on, Robot Uprising is Europe’s largest hands-on robotics challenge where robotics, programming, gaming, puzzles, and storytelling unite. So, how did we get here?
Robot Uprising began as a self-organized group of robot-enthusiasts and hackers: students and alumni from Helsinki and Aalto Universities. Early discussions quickly formulated an idea: “American Ninja Warrior for Robots” with an obstacle course that would naturally include flamethrowers and skulls. As the concept developed and project widened, budgeting became a reality for the event. When pitching to a tech company, the then small team ambitiously asked for a level of support well-beyond anyone’s expectations – suddenly Robot Uprising had found their first partner. It was enough to organise the first year and the scale of the event instantly quadrupled thanks to that early partnership.
The first year event was a huge success, only being able to take half of the participants that applied and operating at a level of production that belied its status as a student event. “See you next year” was thrown around: the cogs were in motion for the next event and it became clear that the team had tapped into something greater than just getting use out of Mindstorm NXT kits – a community of like-minded individuals. Since then, the RU team has aimed to double each year and dedicate increasing amounts of planning and resources to each event in order to maintain quality and overcome any challenges in the process.
With three events now under their belt, Robot Uprising has maintained the character of the first event – the creative spirit and story-driven setting has only become richer over time, and the core values of inclusiveness and a can-do attitude that welcomes innovative or seemingly-impossible ideas. Moving forward, Robot Uprising has integrated with education providers (2 credits for participants registered at the University of Helsinki), continuing our commitment to foster a community and movement around robotics, creativity, and multi-level gaming experiences. We aim to recognise the growing talent in robotics and programming through raising awareness and educating, bring creativity and fun to the forefront of tech, and gather like-minded enthusiasts together.
When asked about the biggest achievement for Robot Uprising, a founder simply remarked “The team itself, full of wonderful creative volunteers who make the event possible.” Robot Uprising is built upon a team of creative and dedicated volunteers that constantly strive for inclusivity, an open community, and a total embrace of creativity as a platform for new ideas.
We look forward to seeing you soon!