February 1, 2023
Veteran Saudi educator teaches Kingdom’s youngsters the legal guidelines of robotics

ALKHOBAR: On any given Saturday night time in Khobar Metropolis, a gentle stream of boys may be seen touring up an escalator in an anonymous-looking constructing on their approach to a workshop through which they’re tasked with utilizing their arms, minds and imaginations to construct robots.

When the session on the Robotic Academy will get underway the room quickly begins to buzz with exercise as the children, a few of them youngsters, some a lot youthful, get busy. A few of them work in teams, some alone, however both approach they’re solely targeted on the duties at hand, with not a single smartphone in sight.

Everyone seems to be busy working constructing the machines, typing the instructions that carry the robots to life into management applications on pill computer systems, or making an attempt to determine precisely methods to get their robots to maneuver in precisely the way in which they need.

The Robotic Academy is the brainchild of Saud Almuhaidib. Because the creator of a pc science textbook utilized in excessive faculties within the Kingdom, and with greater than 40 years of expertise, he’s a veteran within the area. The {qualifications} and accolades he has acquired over the yr fill a wall. He studied for his bachelor’s diploma at a college in Florida and graduated in 1980 with distinction in laptop science. He earned a masters diploma in graph heuristics from King Fahd College of Petroleum and Minerals in 1991, and a PhD in synthetic intelligence from Leeds College within the UK in 2002.

He based the Robotic Academy in 2017 as a result of he noticed that the Kingdom was starting to embrace the usage of synthetic intelligence and he needed to be part of it. He mentioned he needed to assist younger folks to get a head begin on this rising area, and determined to begin together with his hometown.

“Robots is the brand new world,” he informed Arab Information. “Robots and synthetic intelligence is the science that will likely be in each science.

“I’ll offer you an instance. Forty years in the past, after I had simply graduated from college, there have been only a few computer systems on this planet. Individuals used handwriting for issues like ticketing for airplanes. When computer systems got here alongside, step by step they substituted these items and duties grew to become automated. Now, computer systems are in all the pieces: They’re in medication, they’re in engineering, they’re in schooling — all the pieces.

“I began (the Robotic Academy) in Khobar as a result of I used to be born in Khobar and raised in Khobar. We need to take part in Imaginative and prescient 2030 by making Saudi Arabia a hub for synthetic intelligence within the coming 10 years.”

The academy has colourful bins full of Lego bricks, a room with automobiles that college students management by inputting instructions after which testing them. And naturally there’s additionally loads of house for the children to construct robots and allow them to roam, trundle or stroll round.

The scholars are launched to the science of robotics by way of age-appropriate modules for youngsters as younger as 5 and into their late teenagers. They discover ways to management the motors that energy the machines by way of laptop applications that instruct them to maneuver left or proper, ahead or again, speed up or decelerate. If they will grasp such ideas, Almuhaidib mentioned, “they will do nearly something.”

He typically begins a dialog with a pupil by saying, “Inform me how this works — I forgot,” to present them the prospect to point out what they’ve discovered. The children appear to experience dissecting and analyzing each part of the robots they create to life, and explaining the way it features to their ever-patient and calm mentor and instructor.

Although this class on the academy is for boys, ladies should not excluded from the prospect to study robots. Almuhaidib realized that he needed to contain ladies; his daughter was into robotics and most of his seven youngsters are concerned within the area in a roundabout way.

Nonetheless, he needed to maintain the genders separate so every might study and develop at its personal tempo. Women are typically extra organized and pay nearer consideration, he mentioned, whereas boys is usually a bit extra chaotic.

Veteran Saudi educator teaches Kingdom’s youngsters the legal guidelines of robotics
(AN photograph by Huda Bashatah)

For the women’ lessons, Almuhaidib tried to search out essentially the most certified individual he might to steer them. After fastidiously contemplating an inventory of candidates, he realized the proper alternative was beneath his nostril — and his roof: his spouse, Nuhad. She initially took the job on a short lived foundation however found that she loved it immensely and made it everlasting.

“The world has entered the fourth industrial revolution and synthetic intelligence is an important a part of it,” she mentioned. “We should try to construct the capabilities of our ladies and put together a promising technology for the longer term by serving to them take in the science of synthetic intelligence in one of the best and most satisfying approach,” Nuhad informed Arab Information.

“Right here at Robotic Academy, ladies purchase the talents of artistic pondering, evaluation, and logic. One learns the artwork of design, mechanics and programming, and integrates studying into sensible life. We developed an academic system able to creativity and innovation.”

The lady’s lessons embrace 4 modules, every of which runs for a month and has six ranges. The primary is for grades 1 to six and. Like the opposite modules, it has six ranges, at every of which college students study new abilities and ideas for constructing and programming robots. The second module, for grades 7 to 12, focuses on extra superior programming abilities. The third module covers machine studying, whereas the fourth module teaches college students about robotic electronics and ends with them constructing their very own massive robotic.


(AN photograph by Huda Bashatah)

One of many male college students, Rakan Ghassal, who’s within the sixth grade, demonstrated the way in which through which a easy robotic waiter works.

“That is the line-follower robotic,” he mentioned. “How does this work? It measures the depth between the white and the black. It is a black line and it is a white flooring, so it measures the depth. If it’s excessive, it’ll flip; if it’s low it’ll flip.

“For those who stand in entrance of it, it needs you to maneuver. So, how this works is that there’s a proximity censor right here. It measures the distinction between one thing in entrance of it. So it’s going to cease as a result of there’s something in entrance of it, it gained’t transfer.”

The Robotic Academy encourages college students to be formidable and experiment with know-how, even when they fail. Statistically, many experiments fail initially however Almuhaidib likes to make use of this as a studying device and a teachable second.

In reality, there’s a bin stuffed with “failed” robotic casualties prominently displayed by the principle door to the academy. Almuhaidib gently reminds his college students that failing is a part of the scientific course of: “In an effort to succeed, a couple of tough drafts — or damaged robots — must reside and die first.”

He additionally ensures that the academy fosters a tradition of change by permitting boys to be boys — and ladies to be ladies — whereas studying to creating robots that might assist construct the longer term.

Along with the unique Robotic Academy in Khobar Metropolis there’s additionally one in Riyadh, and it’s coming quickly to Jeddah. To seek out out extra concerning the academy, together with methods to enroll and the way a lot it prices, contact @RobotAca for boys and @G.RobotAcademy for ladies.

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