International Technology University’s (ITU) 3rd Robotic Expo, Machines of the Future: Robots, brought researchers, industry specialists and education practitioners together at Arfa Software Technology Park in Lahore. USEFP Executive Director, Rita Akhtar, was the chief guest at the robotics event, along with Dr. Sabieh Anwar, Chair Department of Physics at Lahore University of Management Sciences who attended as guest of honor.
The aim of the Expo is two-fold: to allow undergraduate students with limited electronics exposure gain a better understanding of the study of robotics and concurrently to use the Expo as a way to address locally relevant problems of Pakistan by creating human-friendly robots. This is all part of ITU’s belief that design and technology which have the potential to uplift the quality of life and to bring about positive social change in the country.
The students participating displayed 25 community-based projects (robots) that were critiqued by a panel of judges through successive sessions. First, a “Robotic Catwalk” was arranged, where robots walked on the ramp, followed by technical presentations and a brief question and answer session with the audience. The final session comprised an exhibition where the participants showcased their work and interacted with faculty, audience members about their projects.
The students who participated were all enrolled in, Electronic Devices and Circuits, a course taught by Fulbright alumnus, Talha Rehmani a faculty member and key organizer of the Expo who graduated with a Master’s degree in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. He joins 11 other Fulbright alumni with backgrounds in engineering and computer sciences who are also working at ITU’s Arfa Software Technology Park.
The community-based project, “Octosynth” – a robot-piano that played the national anthem of Pakistan with the help of an apple, banana, orange, lemon and water won first place at the Expo.
Ultimately, the successful participation of Fulbright alumni in these projects is indicative of the great resource pool of individuals that are employed across various sectors in Pakistan. Their unique experience contributes not only to their professional and creative development but equally towards Pakistan’s progress.