Wednesday 8, June 2016

Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: With Dubai now home to the world’s first 3D-printed building, the UAE has underlined its credentials in this cutting edge technology and is taking ambitious strides to encourage 3D printing and other skills for the future across diverse industries.

Complementing the focus of the nation and highlighting its support to create an innovation-driven ecosystem, GE (NYSE: GE) joined hands with MakersBuilders, an education start-up, to host a four-week long ‘Make.Code.Tinker’ session for students from GEMS Cambridge Academy, Abu Dhabi and the children of GE employees.

Held at the GE Ecomagination Innovation Center in Masdar City, the training program focused on imparting in-depth insights on 3D printing, modelling, coding, Arduino programing and tinkering with the ‘Inventor’ kit.

More than 20 students took part in the program, which was organized as part of the GE Garages initiative, which aims to instill an understanding of next generation technologies among young people. Through the initiative, GE is also highlighting the support it extends to innovative start-ups such as MakersBuilders, that foster a culture of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the region.

The Make.Code.Tinker workshop is designed to foster curiosity and excitement for new skills among the young participants by using fun and educational technology kits including Scratch from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Media Labs, Arduino Inventor Kit, and 3D design and printing.

Amir Yazdanpanah, founder of MakersBuilders, said: “At MakersBuilders, our goal is to empower and inspire children and youth to use technology to become future innovators and entrepreneurs. We know children have great creativity and imagination as well as a huge capacity to learn new skills. We also know in a technology-driven economy, the future job opportunities will reward technical know-how and a mind-set ready to learn and re-learn. We want to play our part in preparing children for the future. GE’s support of the program is invaluable and highlights their focus on promoting the advanced skills of the future among the next generation of talent.”

Rania Rostom, Chief Innovation Officer for GE in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, added: “GE Garages is our flagship experiential educational program that focuses on helping build advanced skills among members of the community – youth and adults alike. The ‘Make.Code.Tinker’ workshop was an exceptional concept by MakersBuilders that complemented our initiatives of promoting 3D printing, design, and coding skills in the region. By hosting the program, we are underlining our commitment to foster localized innovation and help build the skills of our community in the latest technologies.”

The program included aspects such as 3D modelling using TInkerCAD, 3D printing, introduction to programming concepts, Scratch, mBlock visual programming, Adruino programming, sensors and controls and tinkering using the Arduino board, ultra-sound sensors, motion sensor and sound sensor, among others. At the end of the workshop, the students created their own basic video games, digital 3D files to be printed, and other creative tech projects.

GE works with key partners in promoting an innovation-enabling environment in the UAE. The GE Ecomagination Innovation Center features the UAE’s first GE Garages workshop, a space where programs are held in a fully equipped lab, to show how the future of digital industrial manufacturing is changing the world.

GE also nurtured innovation champions with GEMS Education through a five-session, four-week robot-building program for girls aged 9-11, teaching them about advanced manufacturing and coding. In addition, the company has partnered with entrepreneurship incubator Wamda for a mentorship program during which 10 MENA-based startups were paired with 20 GE employees to learn from each other.