The fifth annual edition of the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) Robotics Competition recently saw teams of school children from across the UAE wow a panel of expert judges with their imaginative inventions and technological prowess.
Taking place as part of the Robotic Technology Exhibition (RTEX), the only dedicated robotics and automation event in the Gulf Region, the daylong event saw pupils from UOWD’s school outreach program participate in an exciting range of challenges designed to test their robotic expertise.
Armed with robots they had made in advance of the competition, the young people had an opportunity to compete in five different robotic programing tests, including traffic negotiation, stair climbing and a demanding game of pool. The most popular category of this year’s fixture was the ‘open competition’ award, which saw awe-inspiring displays of creativity and engineering competence from children as young as 11 years old.
Amongst the inventions which caught the judges eyes were an Easter Egg decorating robot, created by Grade 8 students Jaafer Hekmat, Ibrahim Assaf and Mohamed Ayman from Sharjah American International School, and a device which was able to solve a Rubik’s Cube puzzle in under a minute, created by Grade 12 students Amir Marie and Tarek Kahhal from New Academy School.
Talking about his love for robotics, Ibrahim Assaf said “I enjoy being able to build things that are fun and useful for people. As far as we know, nobody has created an Easter Egg decorating robot before that can make so many different designs. Adults just don’t think of things like that!”
There were also special prizes for two other teams from Sharjah American International School, and teams from Winchester School Dubai, Delhi Private School and Dubai Scholars Private School.
Awards, including scholarships for undergraduate programs at UOWD, were presented by members of the judging panel, competition organizer Dr Zeenath Khan and Acting Dean of UOWD’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, Dr Farhad Oroumchian.
Speaking to the participants, Dr Oroumchian said: “Today has been an excellent showcase of the amount of talent that young people in the UAE have when it comes to engineering. All of the competitors have showcased great technological skill and creative prowess for young engineers of their age. The Robotics Competition has been a great way to help nurture the scientists of the future.”