UAEU Robot Wins First Place in Oman Contest
Four male students from the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) Faculty of Information Technology (FIT) won the first prize in the Sultan Qaboos University Fourth Technical Forum. Every year the international forum gathers top students from GCC countries to compete in a two-day event in Muscat, Oman.
The winning project combined UAEU’s Sara android with state of the art face recognition.
Aziz AlKayoumi, one of the four winning students, explained: “Thanks to an off-the-shelf webcam, the robot can recognize people’s faces and know who they are. There are many face recognition systems out there but this has accuracy greater than 99.99%. The robot can also analyze the person’s face and estimate if she/he is happy or sad, how surprised she is, and also the gender.”
The project received praise from the organizers because up to now robots have only been successful at tasks that require high precision or repetition; however, in the future, estimating the mood of a person will be important in order to make robots more emotionally intelligent.
According to Khalid J.M.S. Saeed, one of the winning students: “There were highly technical projects from the Omani students, such as an on-campus GPS iPhoneApp, and some of the competing projects were very flashy, but I think we beat them because of two points.” His fellow student and also part of the winning team, Saif M. Ketbi, continued: “First, we combined different technologies creating great value, and second we took the robot to Oman so people could touch and see for themselves. They really enjoyed interacting with it. They could see that the project was very real.”
“The Omani prize will surely be a highlight in our CV when we graduate next semester,” concluded Akram A.A.H. Ahmed, the fourth winning student.
The four students have worked together in the FIT Medialab and have already secured high-flying jobs in the IT industry, explained Dr. Jose Oriol Lopez Berengueres, their supervisor, who accompanied the team to Muscat.
The project was made possible thanks to special funding from the Faculty of Information Technology Dean’s Office.
Prof. Eyad Abed, Dean of the Faculty of Information Technology at UAEU, said: "We are honored by this important achievement of our students, and also celebrate their competitive spirit in bringing home the first place prize. We intend to continue to challenge our students with many more opportunities of this kind, which positively help prepare them for their careers. We are confident that they will become leaders and innovators in the years to come."
Notes to Editors
United Arab Emirates University (UAEU)
- 21st Century research-based university, providing research solutions to support the UAE and, through its global partners, the wider world
- Founded in 1976 by HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan; the UAE's first national university
- Chancellor: His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research
- Nine Faculties:
- Business & Economics
- Food & Agriculture
- Humanities & Social Sciences
- Information Technology
- Medicine & Health Science
- 12,500 students enrolled in Fall 2011/2012
- First PhD program in UAE national institution commenced in January 2010
- Strong focus on providing specific research solutions and benefits to society − the new model of a 21st Century university, furthering research as part of the global network of discovery and innovation
- Ranked 338 worldwide by the QS Ranking of International Universities