From Gaza to Germany with GardeBot the Robot
Gaza-Germany/May 13, 2023/Source: https://www.unesco.org/
Malak (16) and Ibrahim’s (14) interest in Artificial Intelligence and robotics was sparked at a very young age. Their passion, combined with consistent coaching from their engineer father, recently led to them representing Palestine at an international robotics competition in Germany, alongside a team from the West Bank. Below, Malak and Ibrahim describe what the experience meant to them in their own words.
We have always been impressed by the power and potential of artificial intelligence and robotics.
Robotics can make our lives much more straightforward, and we like to learn as much as we can about it. Much of our time has been spent developing ideas which eventually evolve into prototypes – like our prototype GardeBot!
Our journey in robotics began with learning how to code. We took classes in school, but this was not all we did. Our engineer father, Said, works in the field of robotics and engineering, so he built us a small home lab and gave us all the theory and technical guidance and support we needed.
He also provided us with the tools, materials and programmes necessary to build our skills. There has been plenty of trial and error in the lab, which has helped our critical and creative thinking. We owe so much to this this small section of our home, and to our father’s guidance!
When we heard about this competition for robotics, organized by UNESCO in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, we had to apply. The timeframe was tight for us to prepare, but we put in many hours of preparation, programming, testing and refining. Despite some challenges, we successfully developed our robot, GardeBot. who won at the national competition and joined us at the international final. GardeBot is a mobile, solar-powered robot able to navigate autonomously in the garden, identifying and destroying weeds and other problematic plants.
After this, we began preparing for the international competition in Dortmund, Germany. We were slightly apprehensive in the lead up to travelling as it was our first time leaving Gaza.
When we arrived, it was amazing! It felt fantastic to be part of such a diverse and talented community of young roboticists and meet people from all over the world.
We also had the chance to interact with many technological companies at the robotics’ exhibition. We saw the latest innovations in the field, gained a lot of knowledge and now understand even better the role that robotics play in our daily life. Overall, the competition was such a valuable life and learning experience.
We got the chance to dig deeper into our passion for robotics and AI, and develop our skills in coding, electronics, and engineering. We also learned the importance of teamwork, time management, and problem-solving.
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