REFLECTIONS…..

By Lizajane Emmanuella Bunyan

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AiX Moments.

How could I forget? How could I regret? Honestly, how could I deny? How amazing the last two weeks of my life have been, how beneficial it’s been to me. But the truth is that nothing comes easily. Just as life is a journey with challenges and victories, robotics was an experience with problems and fun. I had heard so many things about robotics yet I’d never experienced it and this was my time to enjoy it. Stepping into my first robotics session perplexed and ignorant, I could not enjoy robotics and my eyes just failed me. Right from the start, I counted down to the closing minutes of the session. It took ages to end and I thought I had made the biggest mistake in my life but that was just the beginning.

As humans we progress through life from babies to children to youth and then to adulthood. Confidently walking through the walls of Ashesi as a baby or even an egg of my mother, I was optimistic. Prior to this experience I didn’t know about robots. I hadn’t read, watched or discussed robots with anyone and I certainly didn’t know how to build them with LEGOs.

However AIX was determined to make me more than a child but an adult in robotics. In just two days and few short sessions we had educative lectures which boosted my programming knowledge in robotics. For a fact, I can’t deny that robotics has improved my knowledge of computer science. Now I have grown into an adult in the field.

One thing AIX taught me is TEAMWORK. It is an undisputable fact that we all had teams comprising of four members with each pair given a robot. In pairs and as a group, we worked on mini challenges which built our courage in robots. With the mindset that “practice makes perfect”. we demonstrated what we learnt after every lecture. It was exciting work.

Unique as AIX is to every major course, there was a challenge and robotics was no different. In fact, we had the most difficult challenge ever. Tied with our trip to a waste management plant, our challenge was to design two robots in our groups. One to collect balls and LEGO bricks as garbage from the houses of customers and another to sort them into recyclable and non-recyclable parts. This may sound easy but NO! We had to design and program our robots in two and half hours. It was frustrating and tiring at several points.

Sometimes the robots choose not to follow the program and sometimes the robots just fall apart. This defined the popular phrase “Game Day”, which meant that no matter how hard you tried, your robot might just not work on the D-day. It may work during practice but may fail on the actual day, and I was a victim of this.

All in all, robotics has taught me teamwork, perseverance, endurance and cooperation.

REFLECTIONS…..

By Romeo Nettey

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AiX Moments.

When I was at home preparing to come for the Ashesi University College’s AIX (Ashesi Innovation Experience) program, I had no idea what was in store for me. I signed up for the engineering program. My interest lies greatly in mechanical engineering and this is what drove me to select engineering for the AIX program. My plan, or let me say my mindset was to come get a genuine idea on what engineering is basically about.

The first week of the AIX program was a blast! I had a lot of fun and at the same time, I learnt a lot of new things that I thought I knew already but actually had no idea about. We were taught a lot of things which helped us in the second week of the AIX program. I was in the engineering track of the program.

The second week began and we had to separate into our various classes. The first day of the engineering class was not what I expected. Our teacher was Ms. Corinne, an industrial engineer who was aided by Mr. Nathan. For my first engineering class, we were to prepare our favourite dishes, ON PAPER!!! Like, I was just wondering whether I was actually in an engineering class or a home economics class. Everyone was confused. We were even ridiculed at and the other students called us the home economics class.

For this first task, we were to interview a customer who is supposed to be the person sitting next to you. My guy wanted waakye. We had to make prototypes ON PAPER! It was fun, but I just wondered why we wouldn’t actually prepare the dish. Later on in class, Ms. Corinne explained to us why we did that and it made a whole lot of sense to me. The lesson here was that engineers design, build/ manufacture based on what the people want, not what the engineer thinks is right.

The next day we were introduced to product planning. This was the beginning of a task given to everyone. We were put into groups of three and I really liked my group. We were sent to interview a customer based on the theme “Dumsor, and how you can better that person’s life with your solar-powered invention”. Our client was called Mr. Segla. He wanted us to create something that could charge his mobile phone, as well as give him light.

We went back, did our analysis and that was it for the day. On Tuesday, we were introduced to various electrical components by Mr. Nathan. We then started our product design; it took a while but we got there.  On Wednesday, we started off the day with developing our product specifications. We were taught how to do that. At around 10:30 am, we began to build our prototype, which was a very complicated task. I was put in charge of getting the circuit together and had to join the solar panels to the batteries, then the batteries to the USB and a whole lot more. It was exciting but annoying and tiring. I tried about ten to twelve times before we had everything working.

At around 1:30 pm, we went on a trip to PPAC Process and Plant Automation Ltd. They deal with a whole lot of cool stuff from Smart Homes to smart security and more. We came back to the Ashesi campus at around 8:06 pm and ended our day.

Thursday was stressful. The circuit got messed up again and took me almost half the day to get it back. Now a deadline comes in, and by the end of the day our product had to be ready. We cut out our parts for the container, placed everything in the right position, tested it and finally finalized everything. Our product was good and ready and our client loved it! On Friday morning, we were given extra time to complete the left overs. My team finished work around 10 am and was free the whole day. Finally, on Saturday, we have Open House where everything will be displayed for parents, faculty, mentors and the AIX students to come around to look at what we’ve made.

AIX has been a game changer in my life and I will encourage you all to apply for next years’ program.

REFLECTIONS….

By Felister Obasi

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AiX Moments.

My name is Felister Obasi and I am fourteen years old. I am from Kenya and I heard about the Ashesi Innovation Experience from my elder sister who has friends enrolled in the campus. They encouraged her to advise me to apply for the programme, and after researching about the programme from the Internet, I applied and luckily got accepted. I flew all the way from Kenya to Ghana for the programme.

When I arrived at Ashesi University College, I immediately fell in love with the breathtaking scenery, the beautiful buildings and cool atmosphere. The first people I met were the mentors who were smiling with bright, happy faces, and after registration, one of them took me to my room where I met my wonderful roommates. After that, we went for a scavenger hunt and that was very tiring. At the end of the day, we met our coaching groups.

My coaching group was very cool as it had wonderful mentors and mentees who were ever there for me and they were the same people I worked with on the challenges of design and ethical leadership. For me, week one was a blast, and learning about having an innovative mindset and the value of design-thinking was a total eye-opener for me.

Week two was also amazing though we had been split into various teams and I missed my friends who were undertaking a different course. My new team, however, made it fun and interesting as we worked hard on our business model canvas. I enjoyed myself most especially when we had movie nights, AIX Got Talent and drama night. I must admit that I was a bit reluctant to attend the programme because I would be so far away from home, but the amazing and dynamic people I have met while here have made me feel at home.

I sincerely thank all the life-long friends I have made and I hope to meet them again. Finally, I wish to say that the Ashesi Innovation Experience has been the best two weeks of my life and I would like to encourage the facilitators of the programme to continue on with the programme. I love you, AIX!

My Ashesi Innovation Experience

By Matthew Ndekudugu

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I am Ndekudugu Mathew but the favor of God has come upon my life to an extent that most people call me the remedy to predicaments. I just want to share with you my ASheSi INnoVAtioN eXperience”

The AIX is a programme I regard as second to none in my life! I have always dreamt of attending the AIX but never expected this dream of mine to ever come to reality, simply because of the false information I received from people around me concerning the programme.

A P J.Abdul Kalam said”great dreams of great dreamers are always trancended” and my dream has definitely come true. All the way from Bawku to Bolgatanga to Tamale Airport, to Accra by plane then to Ashesi University College, here I AM LIVE!!! ITS REAL!!! YES!!! The greatest experience I have ever had and would never forget in my life.

Ashesi has everything; innovation, humility, selflessness, hard work, love, patience, just name it!!! Put your valuable item anywhere on campus and you will go back to find it still there the next year. No one would take it, it would be announced as missing and you will surely go get your item back intact!

A year in Ashesi campus seems like a second, because you would wish a day never ends. AIX lets you start with what is necessary, then to the possible, and you end up seeing yourself doing the impossible. AIX with its challenges reveal your talents, capabilities, skills and potentials in you which you might have never known!

Its true, real and live here in Berekuso, Eastern region, Ghana

Day Fourteen : Wrap Up!!

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AIX 2015 ends today. Two weeks of innovation, creativity, leadership, robotics, engineering and entrepreneurship finally comes to an end today with outstanding students receiving awards at the closing ceremony. It has been fun and educational and we hope our students will go out and change Ghana, Africa and the World.

We end AIX2015 at the Charlewote street festival. See you in James Town!!!!!

Day Thirteen : Final Preparations (ROBOTICS IS NOT EASY!!!!!)

By Goodie Blake

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Final Preparations

Walking into a room full of teenagers seemingly playing with what might seem like your everyday Legos can seem a bit comical at first, but look a little closer and you notice these are intelligent Lego NXT and EV3 robots and you start to laugh a little less, look even closer and you notice these teenagers happily…ok miserably typing away at keyboards trying to “program” these robots.

At this point you are laughing even harder than you initially were. I mean what could be more hilarious than high school students “programming” Lego bricks, right? WELL NO! Let me be the first to tell you that if you aren’t a seasoned programmer you should try not to have any delusions of grandeur about how easy it is to program a robot to follow a black line of death, stopping at any blood red marks it meets to turn and enter the devil “house” to pick up its “trash” of evil leaving the “trash can” exactly where it was (twice) and somehow making its way back to the black line of death, take all this to the horror house known as the “recycling plant” were it then makes a deposit.

As if this wasn’t tiring enough we now we have to nervously watch as these items travel down the conveyor belt (not in quotes because although miniature this is an actual conveyor belt) of mystery were they are then sorted, oh yeah, by yet ANOTHER robot which you have programmed.

Did I forget to mention you not only program but have to build these robots and trust me even when you think you have found the perfect blueprint half of the robot ends up as an original design due to one reason or the other. However, I have to admit as tedious as it maybe to come up with Lego builds (God bless the Lego workers who do it for us) it is quite impressive seeing what some of my colleagues and I are able to come up with from the top of our heads…with enough pressure.

All in all it has been a great experience because for moment we burst into tears about our robots scarily spinning in circles uncontrollably, we jumped for joy when our robots successfully lifted and dropped what? A cup! We may not like it when things don’t go as planned but with every failure (quite literally thanks to the joys of debugging) comes a learning experience and these are the moments we will take with us forever, because as our dear lecturer Dr. Korsah has said quite often recently “right now it’s not about perfection, but just completion”, forgive me if that isn’t an exact quote. 🙂

Checkout video highlights from Day thirteen at bit.ly/aixday_13

Day Twelve : The X Panel

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The X-Panel

Today we hosted a range of entrepreneurs (The X Panel) on our campus allowing them to interact with the students and share their motivations and experiences. The on the X Panel included ;

1. Daniel Bonsu of Troski Journal
2. Anne Amuzu of Nandimobile
3. Fred McBagonluri
4. Gordon Churhill of Startup Ghana
5. Regina Agyare of Tech Needs Girls
6. Betty Kumahor of Cobalt
7. Ehi Benitie of Rancard Solutions
8. Krystal Ababio of Sugar Kane
9. Yaw Adu Gyamfi Opoku of Peini.

Checkout video highlights of Day Twelve at http://bit.ly/aixday_12

Day Eleven : Engineering Field Trip!!!

By Sharon Dassah

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Engineering students at solar powered house.

AIX Trip to Process and Plant Automation Limited

The morning session started around 8:00 am at the Engineering block after breakfast and we had a recap of the day before from all three departments; engineering, robotics and entrepreneurship. From there, we went to our various lecture halls around 9:00 am.

The engineering students, including me, went on a trip from 12:30 pm and came back at exactly 8:05 pm.

During the trip, mentors, participants and lecturers participated in whatever went on. The first place of we visited was the house of the CEO of Process and Plants Automation Limited. He showed us how his house was solely powered by solar energy. The solar panels are fixed to the roofing sheets, exposing them directly to the sun’s rays. The house uses twelve solar panels and three of them are connected in series while the other right panels are connected in parallel. The solar panels are then connected to 16 batteries in a container which holds a charge controller to stabilize the battery to charge. The battery can work perfectly for 20 years while the solar panels can work for 25 years before they start to deteriorate.

Continuously or extremely cloudy weather can cause a decrease in the voltage. For this reason, his batteries can power the house for about three days.

From there, we left to the Process and Plant Automation Limited. When we arrived, we were given some pens and bottled water. We went inside and listened to a presentation that had been prepared for us. We were also introduced to new systems like the building management system, which helps in controlling your home appliances and it was AMAZING!! I just couldn’t imagine how a Ghanaian could do such a thing. I found that very interesting. Actually, this has been the happiest day of my life because one of my biggest dreams is to inspire, and I learnt just that.

We were served some snacks to ginger us, and it was even more interesting when we learnt about ‘Smart Home’, which uses an application to turn off and on your appliances even if you have travelled.

I was really shocked and speechless at that very moment. I felt very proud especially because it was a Ghanaian who developed that wonderful feature.

I pray that the solar power system will be encouraged on a larger scale, and that the government should be involved in this project to make it affordable for every citizen as well. I recommend this for every home as well as companies and industries since it is safe and secure. 

Check out highlights from Day Eleven at bit.ly/aixday_11

My Story….

By : Agoni Abraham

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An innovative tree I once saw on a mountain top

Seeing it actually sent me to wonder

How it managed to grow from a rocky surface

Every single part of it, melancholic

Sense of an atmosphere that entails diversity

Intimacy with all and a code of honesty

Uncertain about the choice of words

Nature would best describe it for me

Intelligence, sociable, empathetic

Vision, ethical, unique, sympathetic

Every single bit of good, fruits from this tree

Recollecting its ideas form its struggle of growth

Straightens its shoot to stand like an Oak

Its so fresh like a flower from an Oasis

Thinking of a word to coil it up

You as well might want to pitch it up

Again as I look at this tree

I feel I am on a ride on a “FIL FREE”

Xylophone I hear when those three birds merge their voices

Father in Heaven, wing me that I might get up

On to that tree

Replace my earth with that Eden on it so free

My ultimate wish I pray and hope

E that I make it to the top.

 [ ASHESI UNIVERSITY AIX FOR ME ]

Day Ten : Robotics Field Trip !!!

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Moments from Day Ten

Yesterday was the entrepreneurship cohort’s day out and today is the robotics cohorts’ turn. Students in the robotics cohort took a trip to Blue Skies and Accra Compost & Recycling Plant (ACARP) to see how machines are used in their lines of work and  and the possibility of robot integration in the factories. Meanwhile back at home in Ashesi, engineering and entrepreneurship students work on their final projects.

Check out video highlights from Day Ten at bit.ly/aixday_10