A table that 'sees through' luggage?
Lamees, Dania and Katia from Sharjah American International School with their robot in Dubai on Tuesday.
Dubai - The smart inspection table allows customs officers at the airport to pinpoint suspicious areas of luggage, rather than have a traveller open his or her entire suitcase.
Dubai's second Robot Technology Exhibition (RTEX) opened on Tuesday with state-of-the-art exhibits that ranged from a device that allows customs to "see" through shipping containers to a student-designed autonomous watering system which activates itself when sensors indicate an agricultural area is too dry.
The three-day event, at the Meydan, Dubai, is designed to showcase the latest applications of robotic and unmanned technology. Among those exhibiting at RTEX were officials from Dubai Customs, demonstrating mini-submarines, "smart" airport inspection tables, and a device which allows inspectors to scan the contents of a container truck without physically looking through its contents.
The smart inspection table allows customs officers at the airport to pinpoint suspicious areas of luggage, rather than have a traveller open his or her entire suitcase. The mini-submarine can be used to check whether packages of suspicious cargo have been attached to the underside of vessels.
"Our job is to make sure everything that comes into Dubai is safe," said Hussein Al Fardan, Manager of the Suggestions and Complaints section.
Two students from Manipal University - Srinivas Kartikeyan and Arjun Mini - displayed a robotic car controlled wirelessly through a glove, an autonomous watering system which activates itself when sensors indicate an agricultural area is dry, and a 3D-printing system they designed and built themselves.
"We've built a 3D-printing system which can use all printable materials, even wood. It's good for architects to make engineering prototypes," Kartikeyan said. "We have a prototype, and we're even planning to retail it for Dh3,500. Most 3D-printers available today cost more than 10,000."
Other exhibitors included American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, the UAE Society of Engineers, the Emirates Science Club, the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, and several local universities.
For children, RTEX featured robotics competition which pitted local schools and their designs against each other.
Andrew Firestone of Creative Robotics - which provides robots and science courses and activities to local children - said that robotics are a useful tool to get youngsters interested in STEM (science, technology and math) subjects.
Firestone noted that he sees huge potential for science and engineering among the youth of the UAE.
"In the UAE there's almost 10 million residents. Ten per cent of those are children. That's a million children. Even if you only reach out to 10 per cent of those, that's 100,000 students around the country who are interested and want to be involved."