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Students taste robotic future


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Cambodian students at the National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia (NPIC) have entered the world of robotics.

A group of 20 Cambodian students have been collaborating with 10 South Korean students from the Korea University of Technology and Education (KUT) since January 3 to produce a series of robots and remote-controlled devices using parts supplied from Korea.  

Bun Phearin, the president of NPIC, signed a cooperation agreement with KUT, so students from both universities can share knowledge and technology with each other.

“It is the sign of technological development. After watching their work, other Cambodian students and teachers will learn something. So I hope one day our students will have an idea to invent such things too,” Phearin said.

The Korean students first showed a humanoid robot that can greet people, do exercises, walk, kick a ball and replicate other human gestures. The second device was a remote-controlled helicopter which can fly far away from its controller. The next device was a car powered by a solar panel.  The fourth technological wonder was a miniature robo-tuk tuk, just like the Cambodian version.

The last marvel was a football-playing robot which could run, catch and kick a ball.     

Mey Kimsan, the head of the Relations and Cooperation Centre of NPIC, believes that this project will increase Cambodian’s interest in technology. He believes that Cambodian students are not so interested in technology.

Many choose to study other skills which will not further the country’s interests in terms of technology.   

“Last year, as I remember, about 110,000 students graduated from high schools, but there were only about 1,000 students enrolled to study technology at our school. The car company Hyundai at Koh Kong province requested mechanics from us, but we never send enough to them. You know why? Because people are not interested in studying mechanics, so we still lack today,”  Mey Kimsan said.

His school organises international projects quite often, but this is the first time Cambodian students have had a chance to produce robots. After this project, his students will continue working on them. Kimsan claims that next year they will make a helicopter that can lift up to 60 kilograms in weight.

Kin Bophuong, 19, an electronics student, was surprised when she heard Cambodian students could put together such amazing technology. It has inspired her to continue to study electronics.

“I really want to make something similar to them. Their robots really encourage me to keep studying hard on electricity. As we see without electricity, robots cannot move, so my skill is also important,” she said.

Heark Him, 25, a student of mechanics, who has been working directly with the Korean students, is so proud to be involved because many of his peers gave him applause. However, he gives full recognition to his counterpart students from Korea who are more familiar with this new technology than him.

But during the project, he tried his best to help them produce programs to control thee robots and shared his concept of the robots’ shapes.

“I understand a lot about how the robot works, especially the way to set them up. I know they are just kid robots. We learn from these small things, but we can apply it to bigger machines,” Heark Him said.

“I’m interested more in cars with solar energy. It will become a necessary technology in the future because it consumes t sustainable power.”

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