Abu Dhabi Schoolgirls to Build a Robot in a GE ‘Garage’
Just days after the United Arab Emirates announced it will build a space research center in the country, GE is inaugurating a robot-building workshop for a group of Abu Dhabi schoolgirls. Who knows? The month-long program could provide the inspiration that will drive them to pursue careers as scientists and engineers at the new center.
The workshop at the GE Ecomagination Innovation Center will involve 10 girls aged 11-13 from GEMS Cambridge International School, Abu Dhabi in a project that will culminate in the construction of a fully functioning robot built from scratch using electronics and 3D-printed parts made by the girls.
Hosted by GE, along with local members of the “Maker” community i, the four session workshop will introduce the girls to the world of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as the evolving future of work through hands-on experiences with Advanced Manufacturing techniques and equipment.
The fascinating four-day workshop, held over four consecutive weeks, begins with an introduction to GE Garages, where they will learn about Advanced Manufacturing, including 3D printing and scanning, CNC milling and injection molding. In addition, they will get an overview of electronics and the open-source Arduino programming language.
The second session explores 3D printing in depth, including 3D-design software and use of Makerbot and ProJet 3D printers. The participants will also get practical experience preparing a design for printing and then running the printer to create their designs.
During the third session, the girls will learn about Arduino software and how to write code and programs that allow devices to use infrared sensors to detect objects, to move using DC motors, and to perform small tasks.
The final session is the culmination of the prior three weeks, and gives the girls an opportunity to design and build a robot, and to program it to follow commands, including teaching it to follow a line.
The workshop benefits the student participants in myriad ways, including strengthening their problem-solving and creative-thinking skills, providing an understanding of the science, engineering and technology that surrounds them at home, at school and at play, and concludes with a functional robot that they can continue to learn from through further experiments, tinkering and enhancements. Ultimately, the workshop may encourage these girls to pursue studies and careers in the STEM fields.
GE is an active partner to communities, governments and educational institutions across the MENA region, examples of which include a project by GE Volunteers in Egypt that ran an entrepreneurship workshop called “It’s My Business,” and a GE Volunteers initiative in Saudi Arabia that gave more than 320 Saudi students insights into the working world as part of a kingdom wide “My Way to the Job Market” campaign.