IBM Malaysia and MDEC collaborate to enable students as future Digital Makers through the IBM Watson Maker Workshop

MDEC and IBM Malaysia recently co-hosted the IBM Watson Maker Workshop for the students of SMK Kompleks KLIA. The objective is to equip students with basic maker and coding skills, as well as learning artificial intelligence.

Volunteers from IBM Malaysia guided 30 students in building and assembling ‘TJBots’ from laser-printed cardboards and Raspberry Pi 3 boards before connecting them to Watson Speech to Text application programming interface (API) service available on IBM Bluemix.Through this initiative, IBM and MDEC aim to strengthen the students’ problem solving skills and expand their level of creativity.

“It is gratifying to see students team build their own robots while learning and exploring technology. Technology is all about keeping experiments going and coming up with something truly life-changing for the world and the community. We are preparing them for the future where digital technology is disrupting businesses. Exposing students to coding, robotics and artificial intelligence are some of the ways to do so. It was great to see the commitment from MDEC towards the #mydigitalmaker initiative to skill up youth in the ecosystem.,” said David Raper, Lead, Corporate Citizenship, IBM Asia Pacific and Greater China Group.

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The IBM TJBot is an open-source project and a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) kit. It allows anyone to build their own programmable cardboard robots powered by Watson. The Raspberry Pi boards can be fitted with a 3D printed or laser cut cardboard cut-out.  Makers can also include other add-ons such as RGB LED light, a microphone, a servo motor, and a camera. To bring TJ Bots to life, students referred to a number of ‘recipes’; which are step-by-step instructions to help them connect the TJBots to Watson services.  Makers can to try and create their own recipes based on their ideas and creativity.

“Technology as we know it today is a part of everyone’s life and it is time we educate students, teachers as well as parents in unfolding its depths and potential. The #mydigitalmaker team are committed in coaching the younger generation and teachers with the correct education plans and effective workshops so that they can embrace technology as a skillset and be digital-ready in this digital economic future. This will help empower our younger generation to be trained problem solvers and their ideas soon will benefit the society and fuel the nation’s digital economy. The MDEC and IBM Watson Maker Workshop is definitely a good start and we are hoping to organise similar workshops this year for students from other schools to keep the momentum going, especially with the much anticipated #mydigitalmaker Fair 2017 inching closer,” said Sumitra Nair, Vice President, Talent & Digital Entrepreneurship Division, MDEC.

The IBM Watson Maker Workshop is one of several IBM’s corporate social responsibility efforts in support of #mydigitalmaker movement to transform Malaysian youth from digital users to producers in the digital economy. This includes skills such as coding, app development, 3D printing, robotics, embedded programming and data analytics; all of which will ultimately help to strengthen problem solving and creativity amongst our future generation. Public may visit https://www.mydigitalmaker.com/ for more information on the movement.

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