* The competition targeting high school students, aims to enhance engineering skills through designing a solar tracker
The Department of Electrical Engineering in the College of Engineering at Qatar University (QU) commenced its "one-of-a-kind" school intelligent system for solar energy (green technology) competition in collaboration with the QU IEEE Student Branch.
The competition, aimed at high school students, targets to enhance participants’ engineering skills through designing a solar tracker. Besides being exposed to the engineering design process, the participants will also learn the basic hardware and software skills necessary to lay the foundation for any project.
Dr Mohamed al-Hitmi, head of the Department of Electrical Engineering, said the competition comes within the framework of building connections with the community, which the department does with local institutions and secondary schools. The competition gives high school students an opportunity to design, install and programme "what we can consider a small interactive robot", he noted.
Prof Nizar Zorba, a faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering, stressed the department’s constant endeavour to attract talented and distinguished students from secondary schools and to encourage them to join the College of Engineering and enrol in its various programmes, in order to provide the Qatari community with engineers with outstanding expertise in their fields.
Mohamed Murtaza, president of the QU IEEE Student Branch, said: “This competition will allow the students to get a flavour of electrical engineering. Moreover, designing a solar tracker somewhat exposes the participants to the concept of renewable energy, which can also be used in solar panels to maximise power generation output, and move towards achieving self-sufficiency."
Tamim al-Mulla, vice-president of the QU IEEE Student Branch, emphasised the importance of inspiring Qatar’s youth into pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors, and the extent to which it contributes to Qatar National Vision 2030’s Human Development pillar.
He added, “The Qatar University College of Engineering’s aspiration to become a model college for outstanding education, research and community engagement has made it possible for students to become successful in terms of moving towards creating a society capable of sustaining its development and providing a high standard of living for the Qatari community.”
Three workshops are being presented to aid students in the competition, of which two are about Arduino where the participants are introduced to the basics of Arduino, an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software.
The other will be a 3D printing workshop where the participants will learn how to use a 3D printer, which they can use to incorporate in their designs. The purpose of having a 3D printing workshop is to allow creativity in their designs, besides making them familiar with the concept of 3D printing.
All three workshops are scheduled to be hosted at QU.
Forty-five students representing 10 groups from 10 independent schools are participating in the competition, including Qatari students. The participants will be judged based on the complexity of their design, creativity and the speed of the solar tracker.