Robot vs coral conservation


Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are closing in on trialing a new starfish-killing robot, the COTSbot. Crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) have contributed to nearly half of the coral lost over the past 30 years on the Great Barrier Reef.

The COTSbot has been programmed to identify these harmful starfish from a wealth of other reef life, and deliver a deadly injection. Follow-up work will be done by teams of divers.

Outbreaks of this specialist corallivore have been blamed on changing land use on areas near the reef. Increased use of fertiliser washed into the sea has increased the amount of algae, the food source for crown-of-thorns larvae.

This great innovation will be a useful tool in taming crown-of-thorns outbreaks and ensuring that less coral coverage is lost. However, it is a technological solution to a systemic problem. The COTSbot only addresses the symptom of a lack of proper management of coastal areas near the reef.

This example could be used for a classroom debate looking at whether society is more keen on technological innovations to deal with environmental issues rather than looking at behavioural change that would address the problem at source.


Building a tech stack for global learning

Interesting event at the Institute of Education about global learning. It turned out to be a debate about development education and created a dichotomy between values and knowledge driven models. The discussion got into the nature of knowledge for a while and it was time to escape. My brain is too small to cope. So instead, I put together a few slides describing what I believe to be a minimum technology stack for global learning.

This is the basis for the model that Digital Explorer will be working to resource and provide CPD around. Thoughts, feedback and ideas appreciated as always!

This is apparently getting towards Education 3.0. Very exciting if you like that kind of thing.

My new brothers and sisters

During the last two weeks of this trip, I learned a lot of things that I can not write in a few paragraphs, or even a book. Sharing my ideas with others, being inspired by many things. I saw different sides of technology and innovation which I think will help most of Saudis.

The best was getting to know all my new sisters and brothers from different nationalities. Especially my sisters and brothers in the trip: Omaima, Rahaf, Sarah Khalid, Sarah Hobbs, Maryam, Ali and Jamie.

I think all the things that I benefited from this trip, will stay with me wherever I go. I will try and motivate and inspire the people I know back in Saudi.


My last blog

It is not easy for me to write this last blog! It is hard just to think that this is the last night I hold my iPad and put all my thoughts and feeling down.

My last blog will wrap this expedition up, but at the same time it reveals a new chapter in my life. Starting with traveling alone, passing by priceless experiences and opportunities, ending with bringing my dream project to reality. This expedition is a highlighted bookmark in my lifetime. I will go back to Riyadh with a different perspective of my goals, things around me and even of myself. I’ll go back to Saudi Arabia, and to my community with a more powerful project, and with more determination to thrive. I’ll go back with a more competitive soul I aimed to gain.


These past two weeks

First of all, I need to say that this trip was one of the most beautiful trips I’ve ever had. I learned many things. Personally, I learned how to communicate with others and share my ideas. I made new friends. I learned to think in a positive way, and to take advantage of every opportunity. I learned that everything is possible, and not to give up. Whenever I start a project, to take my time and think about it step by step.

On the technical side, when I visited Cisco and watched how technology has developed very quickly. I saw an amazing group of deaf people and tried to see how technology can improve their lives, and to solve their problem. To say everything that I want, it’ll take a whole report.

When I’m back in Saudi, I’ll do many things; among them is:

  • Complete my project which is “<3 my future”.
  • Start working on apps that help deaf people and solve their problems


What I learned

The past few weeks I learned a lot of things.

Cisco taught me:

  • How to think like a customer
  • My ideas have to be fresh and new
  • Stick to what I agreed to do
  • Technology makes life easier

Google campus taught me:

  • Don’t over-promise
  • If you you made a bad decision, accept it and get over it and cut your losses

Centre of Alternative Technology (CAT):

  • If you can’t imagine a positive future, you cant create it.
  • We must use energy cleverly, because the age of cheap energy is OVER.


  • How to use Google geo-tools.
  • How to lead a group.
  • How to cross the road! :-)

Sarah & Maryam:

  • Helped us with our grammar/spelling mistakes.
  • New English words.

What’s next?

When I get back to Saudi, the first thing I am going to do is learn programming and build my own website. When you visit the website you’ll find a search bar, in which the recycler can just type any material he/she wishes to recycle. Videos, steps, photos and ideas about creative ways to recycle will show up on the recycler’s screen. This website will make recycling more fun and easy for recyclers. I hope at some point I can actually see a difference. See more recycling bins and less rubbish in the street. I really hope that someday recycling becomes a habit not a second thought.


Check list

Today I was working on my final presentation. I went two weeks back to when I first arrived. I was asked to write a blog about my goals that I wished to achieve. I wrote three main goals. I started thinking about them and how much I have achieved.

The first goal was to make connections with ambitious individuals, who share the same interests with me, and who will cooperate with me in future projects. I achieved that by networking with start-up founders in Google campus and the workshop I worked on with the great Muslim deaf community. This goal is checked!

‪The second goal: To bridge the gap between having an idea and implementing it. For the last two days, I have been learning from some amazing technical mentors to build a prototype for my idea “ENLIGHTENED”. We managed to develop a code that will operate six LED lights to display the Braille alphabets. After that I can confidentially say that the second goal is checked!

The last goal was to have fun and enjoy my time and immerse myself in new experiences. When I remember the visits to CISCO, Edge Of Arabia and the Center of Alternative Technologies, the three days in the beautiful Echo Retreats, Hiking up Mount Cadair Idris. Doing all this with an amazing group. I would have to say that this goal is.. checked


Amazing Max!

In the last two days, I spent a great time at our Hack Days event. Where we spent two days working on our ideas with a group of impressive people. My idea is a private social network. Max Shelley, an amazing man, helped me build it. We spent the two days planning and building the first model, which works on all devices well.

I think I learned a lot during these two days, and it was an impressive experience and very unique. Now I want to complete the project, and create a company. Also, I am happy that I got to know all the wonderful people during the two days, and I’m happy that I worked with Max. I would love to thank him and everyone.


Hacking with Rockstar Geeks!

There we were in Hackney, introducing ourselves to the mentors who were going to help us work on our projects. At first they seemed like normal people, but as we got to know them we got intrigued.

Coders, artists and intellects. One of them knows everything there is to know about programming. Another one is a programmer at the age of 15. They were humble, nice and respectful. I got to work with Matthew Applegate and Rain Ashford. The plan was to use six LED lights to resemble one Braille cell and to use Arduino processor to operate it. Rain supervised me as I connected the electronic circuit and Mat developed a simple code that will make the LED Braille cell display the alphabetic letters of Braille system one letter at a time. We uploaded the code into the processor and everything worked perfectly. Then Mat had a great idea! He said, “let’s add two buttons. When you press one of them, the alphabet will be displayed and when you press the other one, the LED lights will spell, touch the light,” We did it and it was great!

I know it looks that today was fun for me but it also was full of learning and new information for me. I have gained the skills that will turn my ideas into real life applications. Of course, two days is not enough to learn everything but I learnt the main principles and I can pick it up when I return to Saudi Arabia.

I realized a fact today, everything is dependent on technology. It simplifies any project and makes any process faster. It also provides a limitless number of choices. I study Mechanical Engineering, and I know it is the perfect major for me, but I think that I will need to expand my technical knowledge to become a perfect engineer, and that is the first thing I intend to do as soon as soon as I go back home. I will start with the book Mathew gave me on programming, Arduino processors.


And the Academy Award goes to…

We first started working on a video that explains what recycling is. Why we should recycle, and what would happen if we don’t recycle. We had some technical issues, so we had to change the idea. We came up with a stronger and simpler idea.
We wanted to show in this video that Recycling is fun! That it’s not boring, and it’s not a chore.
We focused on the essence of what I wanted to share with other people.

I learned a lot in the past few days:

  • How to make a paper airplane ._.
  • Recycling in the uk.
  • I learned how to star in a film :P
  • I learned how to find royalty free music for use in my film.
  • When things go wrong, it’s not the end of the world! Sometimes it gives you more opportunities!


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