KHF Outreach
Researchers, Scientists and Engineers Learn from Each Other at First Arab Robotics Conference in Jordan
14th October 2012
 
HRH Prince Hamzah Bin Al Hussein greets 8-year old scientist Adeeb Sulaiman
 
Sunday, October 14, 2012 Amman – One hundred participants from 13 Arab countries and the U.S. packed the conference room at the Landmark Hotel to kick off three days of lectures, workshops, and exhibits as part of the first Arab Robotics Conference in Jordan held under the patronage of HRH Prince Hamzah Bin Al Hussein. 
The event, which is organized by the Arab Robotics Association and the Jubilee Center for Excellence in Education (JCEE) will include the presentation of 26 working papers, lectures and workshops by four keynote speakers in their respective fields of expertise, and the opportunity for researchers, scientists and engineers from all across the Arab world to network with each other. 
The JCEE has organized and hosted national robotics competitions in Jordan over the past eight years.  In 2004 the JCEE established the National Education Center for Robotics (NECR).  The Arab Robotics Association (ARA) was established in 2011, hosted by the JCEE. 
 
HRH Prince Hamzah Bin Al Hussein and ARA President Ismail Yasein


JCEE Director and Arab Robotics Association President Ismail Yasein describes this week’s conference as the logical next step:

“After eight years of working on robotics with kids in order to increase awareness I think now is the time to go one step further by collaborating with specialists and students and professionals in the hopes of developing real robotics projects that can be applied in industry and across other fields.”

Alaa Suleiman Abuiteiwi, a graduate in computer engineering from the Islamic University of Gaza, who will be delivering a technical paper, says he hopes the conference will help those in attendance forge meaningful connections with others working in the field of robotics in the Arab world.

“We predict that the future will be for the robotics,” the 22-year old said, “so we want to be part of this future, we want to participate in this future, we want to be the major factor in this future.”

For Abuiteiwi that means connecting with the scientists, the students, the major companies and sponsors in order to create a system of educational associations and universities to develop and improve the situation of robotic science in the Arab world.

100 participants attend first Arab Robotics Conference
The youngest participant at this week’s conference is 8-year old Adeeb Sulaiman from Dubai, who is known as the youngest scientist in the Emirates.

His philosophy?

Using robots – not for the destruction of life – but to help make life for humans better:

“For example I already made this robot,” Suleiman explained, “it’s a tiny mini-sized robot, put it under the chair and you switch the ‘on’ button and it walks and cleans.”

The pint-sized scientist with big ideas says he is now developing the remote control for the robot which uses a broom attachment to clean. 

A portion of the conference will also be devoted to robotics in science, technology, engineering and math or STEM, a program the JCEE began introducing to schools in Jordan about a year ago.

Dr. Ethan Danahy, a technology development researcher from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts who will lead the workshop says STEM is a new “hot” topic and his goal as a researcher is to find innovative ways of engaging the students and getting them involved in the process of learning about these topics.
 
HRH Prince Hamzah Bin Al Hussein greets Dr. Ethan Danahy
 
He believes that can best be accomplished through the act of “doing”.
 
“It’s really an emphasis on hands-on learning,” Danahy noted, “project-based learning, the students learning for themselves rather than having teachers simply injecting the information into those students.”

Danahy says while the role of the teachers is still very important, they become more of a mentor or a coach or a role model for how the students need to learn.

HRH Prince Hamzah Bin Al Hussein greets Engineer Sarah Hamdan


Another conference speaker, Sarah Hamdan, who is in her second year of a Master’s degree program in robotics programming and engineering at the University of Damascus says she wants to encourage more young women to enroll in robotics courses.

She says she also wants to develop an online network to connect people in the Arab world who are working on the same types of projects involving robots.

“I am very happy in this conference,” she remarked, “because I know a lot of people who work on the same subject as me on programming the robot and maybe we can discuss together to make a new subject and a bigger subject than mine.”


HRH Prince Hamzah Bin Al Hussein meets conference participants

The first Arab Robotics Conference, which continues through Tuesday will no doubt provide Hamdan and many others with the opportunity to connect and share ideas and information in regards to robotics technology.
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