FARIS Technology Institute is the first space, robotics and STEM institute in Ethiopia. It launched its services with the intentional catchy-slogan of Making Ethiopia the center of technology in Africa. Taking this into consideration, the institute has provided innovational courses in the fields of robotics, programming and with the provision of STEM courses, to be available to everyone.
Regarding the tasks of FARIS Technology Institute, The Ethiopian Herald has approached Founder and President of the institute, Elias Yirdaw. Excerpts:
Herald: What plans have your institute set to achieve?
Elias: We are imagining fulfilling goals helpful in solving problems in aerospace, aeronautics, STEM Robotics and Artificial intelligence. Down the road we have a do list in providing access to STEM education to a broader audience.
We aim to create a developed and civilized Ethiopia and establishing Space Research Center as well as building Mega Training Center for outstanding students. We have a dedication to developing a space satellite for our country Ethiopia.
The mission of FARIS Technology Institute is inspiring the scientist of tomorrow for our country and Africa. Our Goals are intend to solve problems being faced by our community using easy-to-use and accessible technological approaches. And we will need to achieve Automate and revolutionize agricultural practices through precision agriculture.
Also, we have need to ignite the desire to learn STEM education in the youth’s and children’s mind through a series of hands-on approach that will help them exercise their problem solving and creative skills in a fun and exciting learning environment.
We have currently opened four centers and we are planning for this center to be a self-supporting center. In two years, we plan to achieve our long-term goal of opening a research, incubation and training center that will aim at providing solutions for the problems our community is facing.
Herald: Does your institute have partners to accomplish satisfactory results in space science and robotics? If yes, could you brief us about that?
Elias: Our institute has strong collaborations with national and international organizations in the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, Ethiopian Space Science Institute, Ethiopian Space Community, Space Kidz India, Smart Robotics congress 2018 Germany, Space Development Nexus India, Oromia Science and Technology Development Agency, Hawassa University, Ambo University, Ethiopia Space Institute
Our organization has been able to establish connection with several companies both in Ethiopia and outside Ethiopia. It has developed strong relationship with governmental institutions, allowing us to get support in forms of grants for several projects we are working on.
FARIS Technology Institute has specialized in space science, robotics, rocketry, and artificial intelligence. We give more emphasis to the 21 century skills and project-based training and research. Our Institute works on projects that target problems faced by our society and Africa, Research and Trainings that are tailored to fit the needs of our students.
Herald: Would you tell us about the classifications and departments your institute in giving lessons for students?
Elias: We have the department that targets on space science including, rocket science, space shuttle, introduction to astronomy, space simulation and terran briefing, space life and food preparation, introduction to space habitats and environment, Space Technology and communication devices. intro to space.
And we have also area of specializations in robotics Technology that deals on intro to robotics, kit design and assembly, Lego Programing, robot design intro. We as well have a classification of artificial Intelligence that focuses on machine learning, autonomous computing, sensor programing among others.
In addition, we are also actively engaging in giving lessons for our students in design, specifically, in Product design, industrial design, 3d design and manufacturing, ux /ui, sketch, Graphics Design as well in STEM Subjects in the areas of introduction to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through different types of projects and kits.
FARIS Technology Institute’s lab is a project-based, hands‐on Training center, providing students with the necessary tools to understand the basics key concepts of STEM Education, Space science and Robotics through hands-on project-based learning.
We provide Space science, robotics, rocketry, artificial intelligence and STEM workshops for Students as well as schools and for kids. That will inspire the next generation of Innovators, creators, inventors and problem solvers.
FARIS Technology Institute’s lab can help students proceed in to the next level of education as technology experts and can be easily integrated seamlessly into the school system. FARIS specializes in space science, robotics, rocketry, STEM what is abbreviated as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and Artificial intelligence.
We give more emphasize on the 21 century skills and project-based learning. We are expanding our innovation lab presence into different cities of Ethiopia. We are aiming to reach the under privileged school communities in the rural areas. By partnering with key stakeholders in our education system, we believe we can drive a positive change on the education system.
To show this belief in action, we are opening STEM and Innovation Center at Ambo University. Our Collaboration will provide access to not only Ambo University Students but also for the Ambo high and primary schools students.
In a country like Ethiopia, students do not need a longer time in school rather they should get adequate and practical every-day-life connected Education. We offer our service on developing and sustaining programs that provide engaging and enriching extended learning experiences, particularly for those students most at risk for failure or under-performance during the traditional school system.
Our after-school programs offer unique opportunities to engage students in STEM disciplines such as, in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. And as well we have Programs that includes intentional activities in these subject areas, particularly in science and technology, can cultivate student interest in STEM, promote knowledge acquisition, develop critical thinking skills, and advance academic school goals.
Our teams are working on projects of artificial intelligence and aerospace departments. These teams are composed of young innovative individuals.
Herald: Does your institute engage in Artificial intelligence as well?
Elias: Our Artificial Intelligence’s department is working on several projects that aim at providing solutions suitable to Ethiopia. These are some of the projects we are working on.
We are aiming at using artificial intelligence models that are easy to use and affordable for agricultural purposes. There are very many diseases affecting crops but among those Aflatoxin and Mycotoxin, are the most common. We are working towards early detection of the infection. Transportation, road congestion and jams are so common in Ethiopia, Africa and many parts of the world.
We are planning on using machine learning integrated with other systems to reduce road congestion, air pollution and health hazards. People with disabilities in Ethiopia and Africa face so many challenges, we are working on some systems that partially reduce some of these challenge.
These projects are highly profitable and self-sustaining. Besides being profitable this project has the provision of improving and changing the lives of many Ethiopians who may be affected by the problems they were aiming to solve. Aerospace department works on development of rockets and satellites. We are also providing mentorship and training programs.
FARIS Technology Institute’s aerospace team was involved in the development of the satellite.The team is now responsible for processing these images and providing them to governmental and nongovernmental organizations that want to use the processed images.
Mega cube sat is a satellite the aerospace team is working on, which transcends our vision of making our country known in the science, Technology and Innovation.
Herald: What are the main aims of the institute?
Elias: The Project plans to develop a mini cube Sat satellite for academic and research purposes. This project has two major goals. Firstly, the Mega cube project aims to initiate a satellite platform for future scientific missions, which can be used for academic and space research purposes.
Secondly, the vision of the CubeSat Program is to facilitate development, and train students as well as increase the interest for science and space technology in Ethiopia.
Each year, the NASA human exploration rover challenge are features of an engineering design challenges to engage students worldwide in the next phase of human space exploration. The annual event is a more complex follow-up to the successful NASA great moon-buggy race.
The competition challenges high school and college students to create a vehicle designed to traverse the simulated surface of another world. During its 20-year run, the great moon-buggy race has engaged more than 10,000 students and demonstrated that these budding scientists and engineers were capable of complex work.
The Rover Challenge will inspire participants to become the engineers to design NASA’s next generation space systems. The competition entails the designing, engineering and manufacturing of a rover model to be used in mars human exploration. We were the first African team to participate in this event. We took part as team Africa.
Herald: Does your institute have a role in Africa as well?
Elias: We are representing our country Ethiopia and Africa in a way that has never been seen before in global science and technology competition for the first time. Other Projects zero in on young and talented ones.
This traditional approach to teaching has fostered inadequate candidates and professionals who lack, not only the ability to perform certain tasks, but also the character to persist through problem solving and critical thinking. But we are falling behind peer countries in STEM.
Herald: What are the significant points of the institute?
Elias: In fact, several issues arise to start STEM academics in our country’s context. Some of which are viability, development and implementation of STEM education, school STEM curriculum. Young and talented project is STEM development and Implementation project. It aims to design many programs and strategies to support our country’s science education.
One of our major plans is to give trainings for high school students through hands on projects. Another major plan is nation-wide STEM competition for high school and university students. Under this sub project, we have Math League and Innovation Champ.
The Math League will be a yearlong Mathematics only competition starting from district level to National Math competition. Innovation champ will involve students who innovate different inventions for a challenge and will host annual innovation championship.
The name MindEt is a short hand writing of Ethiopian Mind, which implies our great thinking ability as a country. The MindEt platform is web-based and Mobile application platform, which acts as an education and presentation Virtual Reality platform.
It allows its students to immerse and experience subjects that need further illustration and visualization together with multiple other users from different parts of Ethiopia around in a safe virtual environment, regardless of geographical location or region. The platform seeks to offer improvements in how students acquire knowledge and experience learning in a whole new way by utilizing VR technologies.
The MindEt VR platform has been designed to simplify the visualization of complicated and hardly understood subjects by designing different 3d showcases. We believe that a key feature of MindEt VR platform is the ability for educators and trainers to use the software to create their own VR lessons and presentations on using VR tools provided by the FARIS Technology Institute or third parties through MindEt.
Therefore, we provide a cost-effective solution to educators and colleges for creating their own VR lessons and training. Alternatively, FARIS Technology Institute can be commissioned by educators to create educational or training content for sharing through the MindEt platform.
STEM Education FARIS is also currently providing STEM trainings for over 400 students across Ethiopia. This training focus on robotics, programming, rocketry and other STEM fields they are packaged for students in every age group.
The aim, of these trainings, is to make science and technology easy and fun to understand, creating a positive mindset to technology and how to use technology to solve some problems the student see in their community.