The fifth annual Teknofest is bringing together young and bright minds who are working towards making Türkiye an innovative tech hub.
An AI-enabled biology project. Or a rocket developed by high school seniors. Or the mock-up of the latest drone by one of Türkiye’s biggest innovation companies.
These are but just a glimpse into the world of exciting developments and innovations in cutting-edge technology as the world's largest Aviation, Space and Technology Festival, ‘Teknofefst Black Sea’, gets underway in the Turkish Black Sea province of Samsun.
Organised by the Turkish Technology Team (T3) Foundation and the Ministry of Industry and Technology, the fifth annual Teknofest is being held at the Samsun Carsamba Airport in the Black Sea region.
As part of the festival, various shows and technology competitions are taking place between August 30 and September 4.
Everyday thousands of visitors are treated to a carnivalesque atmosphere, with the event’s upbeat theme song punctuating every nook and corner.
Teknofest is aimed at improving Türkiye’s engineering-based human resources and strengthening the motivation of society parallel to the country’s technology goals.
There are plenty of activities on offer: aerial and land vehicle expos, simulation experience zones, a vertical wind tunnel, a virtual reality tunnel, as well as a planetarium, a youth and sports zone and plenty of workshops.
There are nearly 40 tech competitions in which students are participating, in areas like unmanned aerial vehicles, nanotechnology, aviation, artificial intelligence, robotics, electric vehicles and data science.
Competing in the field of agricultural technologies is a group of Kastamonu high school students, who designed a project called ‘Identification of Plant Diseases with Artificial Intelligence’.
“We created a dataset with about a thousand photos,” one of the group members tells TRT World. “It is an application which is useful for farming because many times the wrong pesticides are used which cause damage to fields.”
“This project will help prevent spraying the wrong plants and increase farm yield.”
Another group of university students from Yildiz Technical University have developed a rocket that can reach an altitude of 3 km. Named “SEMRUK”, their rocket came second at the Teknofest in 2020. Consisting of 15 students, the Yildiz Rocket Group are finalists again this year.
“Our aim is to move our country forward in the field of space and aviation. We want to contribute to both our university and our country with R&D and TUBITAK projects, not just in terms of competition,” said Enes Keskin, a third-year student at the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Flagship Turkish companies like engine manufacturer TEI and Baykar are also present, with the famous drone manufacturer having exhibited a mock-up of its new drone – KIZILELMA – on the opening day of Teknofest. The drone is set to leave the hangar in 2023.
With a slew of state-run and private firms across the tech and energy value chains displaying their wares, not all companies in attendance are Turkish. Big tech companies like Google can also be spotted among the participants.
General Manager of Turkish firearms company Canik, Utku Aral, said in a company statement that Teknofest will enable Türkiye’s youth to dream about innovative technologies, research and development (R&D) activities and the aerospace, aviation and defence industry where the most advanced technologies are used.
“As one of the main sponsors, this year we aim to provide pleasant moments to our children and visitors at the festival with our Freeze application, which can cover a large part of the Teknofest area with its multi-camera feature and offers the opportunity to take 180-degree photos, as well as many events from the wind tunnel to the airsoft shooting experience,” Aral said.
Meanwhile, people at Teknofest are treated to a late afternoon air show, a firm crowd favourite, which stops everyone in their tracks to gawk at the cream of Turkish fighter jets zooming past and breaking the sound barrier.
“This is a very important event. It makes us proud to show how advanced technology in Turkiye is,” says 32-year-old Yusef, who has been to Teknofest three years in a row.
“We welcome the world to Samsun!”