Vaios Panagiotou, awarded a Mechanical Engineering BEng(Hons) degree, has spent the last four years building and maintaining life-sized robotic dinosaurs which move and roar to packed crowds at Beijing’s National Stadium.
His first job was building robotic animals for the Chinese calendar but the dinosaurs were by far his biggest challenge: “These giant moveable robots took two years to design and construct are the largest dinosaur robots in the world.
“The timescale was very short and we had to succeed on our first attempt. For years my life was nothing but work. But we did it – and in my view it was nothing short of a miracle.”
Hundreds of artists, engineers and technicians from China and abroad were drafted in for the project which was led by Oscar winning American director David Ebner. Vaios, originally from Greece, was chief designer of the robots and headed teams from China and Europe.
Vaios said he’s staying on in Beijing for the time being – but has fond memories of his time at the university: “My tutors trusted my capabilities – I hope they’re proud of their old student.”