Students' 'golfbots' tee off in Dubai

Students golfbots tee off in Dubai
Robots lined up for the mini-golf STEAMathalon at Els Club, Dubai.

Dubai - A custom, three-hole golf course served as the battleground.



By Saman Haziq

Published: Sat 27 Apr 2019, 9:31 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Apr 2019, 12:26 PM

Over 100 students battled it out in a Dubai golf tournament over the weekend, but none of them swung a club - their 'golfbots' did.
Teams of Grade 7 to Grade 9 students from 20 UAE schools designed, created and trained their own artificial intelligence-powered robots for the mini-golf championship at the Els Club in Sports City. A custom, three-hole golf course served as the battleground.
The two-day competition was organised by Canada's leading Ed Tech company, Kalebr Americas, in partnership with BMW Group Middle East, AGMC, and the Dubai Autism Cente.
At the UAE's first ParOne STEAMathalon, students - aged 11 to 14 - took up the challenge, learning the concepts behind artificial intelligence (AI) along the way and using them to create innovative machines.
A team of six girls from Our Own English High School Sharjah, along with their teacher, created an 'agro-golfer' called Evah, a multi-purpose robot that can be switched from being a golf champ into a bot that can help farmers in the field.
Explaining the project, one of the students said: "We know that 90 per cent of the world depends on agriculture, which requires manual labour, and this AI robot that we made could be of great help. We have attached a golf arm to this robot, but this can be changed and replaced with a sickle that would allow it to help in reaping crops. Evah can also sow seeds in the soil. This was a great testing ground for our innovative ideas."
Another set of Grade 8 students from The Oxford School built a robot using recycled materials and named it Tobo (Tolerant Oxford Bot).
"It was one of the best experiences of our lives as we had never really imagined we would be able to understand AI at this age. While constructing this golfbot, we struggled and worked hard. We used recyclable materials as we wanted to create awareness about sustainability, too," said Muzammil, one of the students.
Experts, community votes and social media interaction helped decide the winners in categories that ranged from creativity to sportsmanship and the STEAMathlete pro level.
Speaking about the concept of STEAMathalons, where STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, Aaditya Tangri, co-founder of STEAMathalon, said: "Countries around the world wish to promote knowledge economy, innovation and well-being so that they can prepare citizens and students for the future. But how to future-proof the young learners and individuals? This is why we came up with the idea of STEAMathalon, where we have combined learning and sports and developed a community event. We feel this is how future of learning looks like as everyone around can be seen happy, excited, where parents, teachers, students are all getting involved."
saman@khaleejtimes.com


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