Professor Dr Ayanna Howard facilitating the workshop. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) recently hosted a robotics workshop which saw participation by 36 students from secondary schools nationwide.

The workshop which was facilitated by well-known robotics expert Professor Dr Ayanna Howard made use of ‘Cozmo’ – a sophisticated robot equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to be used as a learning tool for students.

Dr Howard who was listed as the 19th most powerful engineers in the world by Business Insider in 2015 is the Chair of the School of Interactive Computing from Georgia Institute of Technology. Besides UTB, she is also set to speak at several events in Brunei, as facilitated by the US Embassy to the sultanate.

Professor Dr Ayanna Howard facilitating the workshop. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

UTB’s Head of Enterprise Office Dr Sharina Yunus told The Bruneian that the one-day workshop conducted for the secondary school students was part of the university’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Outreach Programme.

The workshop, she said, was aimed to make learning robotics more accessible to students in Brunei, as their future lies with such technologies.

“At present, most corporations – small, medium or big – have now turned to automation to improve efficiency of their operations and increase their productivity. This is actually a good indication that there will be more use for robots or AI in the future,” she said.

Students listening to a presentation by Professor Dr Ayanna Howard. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

Dr Sharina also shared that Brunei does not have anyone professed in robotics at the moment, but the Sultanate does have people graduating in Mechatronics, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Programmes.

“Those subjects when combined can make up to what you found in Robotics,” said Dr Sharina.

Students listening to a presentation by Professor Dr Ayanna Howard. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

“At the moment, we are working closely with industrial players to see what kind of expertise are in demand – and currently, we have requests to produce more experts in mechatronics, as suggested by oil and gas businesses,” she said.

“So it is good for our younger generation to learn robotics now as they will be dealing with them more in the future,” she added.

Students learning robotics through Cozmo. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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