Students in Oman to collaborate globally on STEM Innovation Challenge

News Desk -

The New York Academy of Sciences and Ericsson have collaborated on a two-year program to give 200 students in Oman the opportunity to participate in a global “Internet of Things” (IoT) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Innovation Challenge.

Teams of up to six students aged 13 to 17 are paired with a STEM professional, graduate student, or post-doctoral fellow through the Academy’s Launchpad platform. The Fall Challenge teams created smart homes that use technology to collect, process, and store environmental and health data. The data will be used to promote energy efficiency as well as the physical and mental health of the residents of the homes.

With Ericsson’s support, 100 Omani students participate in the program each year through the Omani Ministry of Education’s Center of Excellence. This semester, teams from all over Oman tackled some big ideas for incorporating IoT technology into homes. Some teams used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve Wi-Fi performance, while others used IoT to improve the quality of life for people with mobility issues. One team investigated how Virtual Reality (VR) can improve interactions with smart devices, while another incentivized the use of smart devices to save families money. While the projects vary, the themes are consistent: how can we use STEM to improve our communities?

“We are pleased to work closely with Ericsson and the New York Academy of Sciences’ Junior Academy,” said Huda Al Dughaishi, Innovation Specialist at the Ministry of Education in Oman. “This program will help turn our passionate students into problem solvers as they design innovative solutions for smart houses and other global challenges. We are confident students will gain through self-learning. They will deepen their subject knowledge and strengthen their ability to take action to solve real-world problems in Oman.”

“We are happy to be partnering with Oman’s Ministry of Education and Ericsson to help students in Oman develop global STEM skills,” said Nicholas Dirks, President and CEO of the Academy. “This Internet of Things Smart Homes Challenge is just one way in which the Academy’s Global STEM Alliance builds bridges between students around the world. We welcome the Omani students as they join our network of 20,000 young people in 100 countries.” 

“It gives me a chance to be in a great group, develop research, innovate, and discuss a real issue,” said Alhassan Al Ryami, whose team designed smart home that used roof-top solar panels to protect against power outages.  Alhassan, who is 14 and lives in Muscat, added: “Thanks to the Junior Academy for giving me this opportunity, which taught me how to develop research for a real problem. Also, it develops my collaboration skills.”

“The latest IoT competition deepens the knowledge of young Omanis about smart homes.” said Abdullah Al Balushi, Country Manager of Ericsson Oman. “The talent and caliber of the students that we have witnessed is very impressive and we believe our joint efforts with the Junior Academy program is successful at honing the skills of the students for the technological future.”

Students participate in these Innovation Challenges through the New York Academy of Sciences’ Junior Academy program. The Junior Academy is currently accepting applications until June 30. A second cohort of students from Oman will begin the program.

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