THE ROBOTICS field has rich opportunities to get explored in Pakistan and the young talent if refined and put on the right direction with the international cooperation, the country could ensure a significant and sustained progress, however, all this needs a serious approach on the part of the authorities concerned.
“Pakistan is going to take part first time in the Global Robotics Challenge (GRC) competition to be held in India from March 14 to 17 this year at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. However, the participating team will be selected through holding a robotics competition among universities of the country on February 6. The Air University will organize the contest at its Islamabad campus,” disclosed Liaquat Ali Khan, Assistant Professor at the Air University, told the media.
He said that now serious initiatives are being taken in Pakistan to promote the culture of robotics sector through introducing relevant engineering and computer science programmes at college and university level. “We have the potential to do a remarkable progress in robotics field,” he maintained.
About the upcoming GRC contest in India, Liaquat said that the AIR University has been selected as official organiser of the contest for Pakistan.
The participants will compete in two categories – International Autonomous Robotics Competition and International Robot Got Talent, he said, adding that the winners of GRC Pakistan will compete in the international finale of GRC in Kanpur.
According to international experts, the festival Techkriti-2013 in India serves as a valuable opportunity for engineers around the globe to converge their skills and abilities on a single platform.
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, UAE, Egypt, UK, Japan and other countries are participating in the event.
“It will be a great opportunity for Pakistani students and it will help widen their exposure to the world of robotics,” Liaquat explained.
NUST a couple of months ago had organized a two-day International Conference on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (ICRAI) which is the first of its series, and this conference will be held biannually.
The event proved to be an instrumental as it covered the latest emerging trends in the fields of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence including Intelligent Mechatronics and Robotics, Haptics, Tele and Medical robotics, Unmanned Vehicles, Prosthetics, Micro and Nano robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Neuro and Fuzzy control, Human Machine Interface and Automation.
According to Head of Mechatronics Engineering Department, Dr Javaid Iqbal, holding a seminars, expos and competitions on robotics in colleges and universities on regular basis would ensure shining the young talent who need professional guidance and patronization.
“In order to fully tap the potential in robotics field by engaging known international experts and institutes,” commented Commandant College of EandMEMaj Gen Obaid Bin Zakria.
This would not only benefit the Pakistani students in fully entering this robotics field but also help in bringing foreign investments in this field, he maintained.
“Pakistan is a wonderful place to do business and especially in something related to information and communications technology,” said electrical engineers Afaque Ahmed, who along with another Pakistani electrical engineer Yasin Altaf, has spent 13 years in the high-tech firms in Silicon Valley and returned to Pakistan.
Both Afaque and yasin in 2011 had established a robotics lab, the only modern scientific learning centre in Pakistan, which uses robotics to train young children about practical science is a fresh concept even in the US.
Ahmed admitted that there were and are problems in Pakistan but the opportunities like quality human resource, low cost business operations and others outweigh those.
PCST launches Nano-technology initiative
STAFF REPORT IBD: Chairperson of the Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST) Dr. Asrar Mudassir has announced that a nano-technology initiative will be launched under the National Nano-Technology by Revival of National Commission of Nano-Science and Technology.
There will be a task force established by the Ministry of Science and Technology but at this stage there will be sub-committees which will suggest specifications on how to go about making this initiative a practical programme and defining different agencies role, Chairperson PCST told the media.
The research and development expenditure will be enhanced from 0.6 per cent to 1.0 per cent of the GDP by 2015 and to 2 per cent by 2020.
Advance research is important in every scientific field for Pakistans progress and given the limited resources that Pakistan has, the best minds must be utilized and given opportunities.
The support must be given at the federal level that will affect all the provinces and areas in Pakistan. It will help grow Pakistans economy too, she said.
Under the new National Science Technology and Innovation Policy 2012 it is expected that programmes and initiatives for Pakistans research and development in science and technology sector will be made independent of the political agendas and interventions.