Learners from the Physically Active Youth (PAY) Centre in Katutura, Windhoek took part in the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST)’s FABlab, a weekly robotics class.
It aims to stimulate and develop science, technology, engineering, art and maths (STEAM) skills for Namibia’s future leaders, is just one way that the forward-thinking and innovative FABlab is promoting real innovation.
The PAY classes are in their sixth week and have seen a group of 12 learners aged between 8 and 17 years learn the basics of coding and building robots. The eager learners use critical thinking and engineering design processes to solve problems and complete tasks that involve operating the robots to move, lift, push and pull objects.
The learners are embracing future technologies and involving them in fields such as robotics from a young age is a way of equipping and shaping the future of the country. These youth give up their weekends to actively learn new hands-on skills and are being provided with new opportunities, which will contribute to the economy.
FABlab Namibia is bridging the digital divide and engaging the youth to undertake studies in these cutting-edge spheres, build new robots and acquire STEAM skills at the same time. The youth will be the future engineers, innovators and inventors who may just turn out to be the new breed of talented tech-entrepreneurs that Namibia needs.
The kits used at FABlab for youth training are part of the global dynamite LEGO Group and the robots, which the learners developed during the longer course have additional sensors, such as ultra-sonic, infra-red and touch sensors.
The addition of motors and sensors gives the creator the possibility of building anything; the possibilities are endless when innovation and technology are involved with robot building. Engineering and ICT degree students at NUST have also benefited by mentoring younger teams and have even taken their robotics skills further, having developed robotic arms and drones as part of projects at FABlab.