Date: 02/04/2016 1:00 pm
Event Location: , Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST)

ArabWIC Partners with KACST in the Genuino Day Event in Saudi Arabia

The ArabWIC Saudi chapter partnered with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in organizing the Genuino Day 2016 event on April 2nd, 2016. Genuino Day is an international event celebrating Arduino/Genuino Day worldwide, bringing together people and projects interested and related to Genuino. This year, official Arduino celebrations and their local communities’ events reached 331 events that were held in 68 different countries around the globe. These arduino events gather people from the makers communities, students, experts  and those who are interested in physical computing and STEM from all ages, backgrounds and specialties to share their experience via talks, workshops, demos, and demonstrations of Genuino projects.

The event was held at KACST’s conference center in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. The event’s website was established to promote the event in the country and for managing registration. This event was dedicated for women, and the targeted audience were faculty members, researchers, students in pre-university, collegiate and postgraduate programs in addition to anyone interested in technology and engineering from the local female community.

 The number of attendees in this event was around 200 female participants. In the keynote sessions, three ArabWIC leaders from the Saudi Arabia Chapter presented on key topics for the Genuino Day event. The Saudi Arabia ArabWIC Chapter president, Dr. Areej Al-Wabil presented on Scalable Innovation and Technology for Social Good. Dr. Amany Alshawi, presented on ArabWIC’s mission and vision and shared an overview of the progress and achievements of the Saudi chapter in the 2016-2017 timeframe. Dr. Sarah Alhumoud presented an inspiring journey describing the triumphs and challenges she faced in her impressive career in computing from her early days as a student in the Information Technology program at King Saud University, to her leadership roles as the Vice Dean of IT in Imam University and Ibn Khaldun Research Fellow at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL) labs. Our ArabWIC mentoring coordinator, Aseel Alhadlaq also presented a talk on the eMentoring initiative that is being rolled out in collaboration with the ArabWIC Saudi Arabian chapter.  

In addition, the event hosted six parallel workshops aligned with three domains: Electronics, Prototyping and Marketing. Three of these workshops were presented by ArabWIC members from the Saudi Arabian chapter and from industry and different research centers at KACST. ArabWIC member, Jumana Almahmoud moderated a workshop on UX Design. ArabWIC member and KACST Research Associate, Samar Alqatari (a recent graduate of Stanford’s Mechanical Engineering program and currently a PhD student enrolled at the University of Chicago studying Computational Physics) presented a workshop on Visual thinking and the Design Process. ArabWIC’s Arwa Alabdulkarim (research at KACST’s Electronics and Photonics Research Lab), also presented a workshop on Sketching with Arduino in which participants learned the basics of building circuits and open source programming with Arduino.

 The Genuino Day 2016 event hosted two exhibitions; the main exhibit was for the event’s partners who participated with talks, workshops, and sponsoring the awards for the projects’ competition winners. The event partners were: Badir Program for Technology Incubators, Dell, Intel, IBTKR Electronics, Rays Co., Arab Women in Computing’s chapter (ArabWIC Saudi Arabia), IEEE’s Women in Engineering WIE–IEEE Saudi Arabia Section. At the partners’ exhibition, visitors had the opportunity to network and learn more about the programs and initiatives offered by these communities for Women in Tech in our local context of Saudi Arabia.

The second exhibition was dedicated for interactive demos and student projects which involved students participating from King Saud University (KSU), Prince Sultan University (PSU), and Princess Noura University (PNU). In this exhibit, students had the opportunity to showcase their projects to visitors and share experiences with the maker communities. ArabWIC’s Saudi chapter was also involved in the Judging Panel for the awards. The creations ranged from creative minimalist designs to complex ubiquitous computing systems that were developed by female students as postgraduate course or dissertation projects in local universities. These include interactive household objects, brain-controlled wheelchairs, threaded sensors in clothing for pollution sensing, and assistive technologies for the visually impaired. Videos showcasing some projects  (Amal Alkhathlan, Mawada Alsabban) demonstrate the intricate details of the design process and contributions towards developing open source solutions for real world problems. The vibrant exhibit attracted many visitors who were actively engaged in tinkering, exploring, and learning more about physical computing, its applied domains and the enthusiastic communities of interest that have emerged in our local Saudi sphere.

The event was recently featured in IEEE’s Women in Engineering newsletter in an article published July 2016. You can tap into our #ArabWIC coverage of the event and the participants’ social conversation by checking out the #يوم_الجنيوينو hashtag and our partners @Makers_SA community, or by visiting the event’s web page at KACST.