Using technology for a good cause
IN aid of children with disabilities, two University Malaysia of Computer Science and Engineering (Unimy) students and their lecturer have demonstrated disruptive innovation to maximise social impact.
Under the guidance of lecturer Dr Norshuhani Zamin, Fuadah Az Zahra Khairuddin from the Faculty of Computer Science and Bachelor in Software Engineering student Muhammad Zharif Amin conceptualised the use of digital technologies for early childhood education, particularly those with learning disabilities.
For their final projects, both students came up with the idea of creating learning tools to help improve social interactions among children with learning disabilities.
Dr Norshuhani said: “We are motivated to study the challenges faced by typical (children who are not receiving special education) young children and children with learning disabilities, especially those with autism, Down Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and slow learners.
“We try to identify the gap between the needs and solutions available, while addressing the issue using a sustainable approach.”
Fuadah’s project, titled Emparti, uses Augmented Reality (AR) to develop a framework for virtual development.
She used an AR game that presents young users with situations that require an empathetic response and encourage them to act the same way in social settings.
Dr Norshuhani said the research found that digital applications such as video games can improve visual-spatial capabilities and cognitive skills.
Muhammad Zharif’s project uses robotics to improve the conventional method of teaching social interaction skills, including visual, audio and hand-eye coordination.
Known as ROBOTherapist, the main objective is to develop a low-cost robotic tool using an open-source electronics platform to aid the teaching and learning of children with learning disabilities in Malaysian schools.
Fuadah and Muhammad Zharif are currently working with local special education schools to test their projects. They also work closely with local start-ups Arleta and Tech Smart to provide them with essential technical aid.
Such industrial collaboration is a key element of Unimy’s academic framework, which enhances innovation through knowledge exchange. Through its courses and programmes, Unimy advocates innovation and creativity through technology. Students are encouraged to think out of the box to derive solutions that make life better.
Unimy is Malaysia’s first ICT-focused digital technology university and benefits from the support of parent company Prestariang Berhad. It offers programmes in computer science, software engineering, game development and other advanced ICT programmes focusing on cybersecurity, big data and coding. The April 2018 intake is now open.
Industrial collaboration, such as this project focusing on children with learning disabilities, is crucial to Unimy’s academic framework, which enhances innovation through knowledge exchange.