On September 16, 2017, a group of robotics students, accompanied by Dr. Hemin Latif, chair of the IT department at AUIS, and the IT Lab Assistant Mr. Berzy Bahzad attended the first Robotics Festival in Kurdistan, organized by the IT organization – TechEye.org – and under the supervision of the South Korean Consulate in Erbil.
Despite the overwhelming heat and seven hours' drive from Sulaimani to Erbil and back, the students learned a lot from the trip to the exhibition, including things not related to technical or programming skills, like learning how to organize an event such as this. There were various projects on display: command-based speech recognition light project, all custom PVC-made underwater robot, an automatic pencil-drawing robot, and many more.
The competitors were a group of talented and energetic students, graduates, and hobbyists. Haval Rezan, an IT junior at AUIS realized that “The competition is no longer inside AUIS where we were the only institute to teach robotics. We now have a greater challenge to stay on top of the game.” It also made the attendants realize that many people are interested in robotics in Kurdistan outside AUIS. “The event was eye-opening. Now I know that there are people who understand the language of robotics,” said Lavin Luqman, AUIS IT major.
Sharing his view on the trip, Dr. Latif said, “Teaching and learning are not only limited to in-class experience and interaction. There is a lot of teaching and learning taking place out of classrooms too, something that both faculty and students need to know and can benefit from. Having a very popular course on Physical Computing and Robotics offered to our IT students, I find it very important that the students know what else is out there. Many of the projects we saw are similar or related to what we teach our students at AUIS. Some were very impressive in terms of both idea and execution. I hope the students enjoyed their experience and we are looking forward to similar events in the future.”
Field trips not only guarantee a different experience, but serve as an opportunity for students to meet and get to know people. During this trip, the students, staff, and professors had the chance to get to know one another, discuss different topics, and share their interests. Students also expressed their interest in having more university-organized trips in the future and competing either on a university level or event-based levels, similar to the First Robotics Festival.