Birzeit Students Win the 2015 Imagine Cup Robot Competition

The Birzeit University team won the 2015 Imagine Cup Robot competition for innovation in Palestine held recently at Palestine Technical University - Khadduri, and organized by Microsoft Corporation. Twenty-two teams from different Palestinian universities participated, including Birzeit University, Polytechnic of Hebron, Palestine Technical University - Khadduri, Najah National University, Al-Quds University-Abu Dis, Arab-American University and Al-Quds Open University - Gaza. Projects were divided into three categories: community service, games and creativity.

The winning team of Muhammad Atiq and Hassan Bakr, supervised by Professor of Computer Engineering at Birzeit University Wasel Ghanem, designed a robot controlled only by thinking - the first of its kind in the Arab world – the result of advanced scientific research that they carried out together.

Ghanem said that the project is based on knowing what humans think about, a new line of scientific research that reads the signals coming from the brain and processes them for the use in applications. For example, those that need assistance controlling the movement of the wheelchair via thought only, and other applications that serve human life. Ghanem wishes to establish a specialized laboratory that connects the computer with brain signals, enabling Birzeit University to compete in this field worldwide.

The competition was supervised by a jury from Microsoft Corporation that assessed the projects involved according to a strict set of standards, including the originality of the project idea. The jury expressed deep admiration for this project, acknowledging the difficulties faced by those working in the field.

The contest sets out to feature the creative skills of students in the field of information technology and to motivate them to imagine a world where technology helps solve problems.