ARX: On Friday Night

As the African adage goes, “for every tunnel there is a light at the end and hence everything that has got a beginning has got an end” and so did the whole ARX 2013 that was held at Ashesi University. First impressions they say are very important but in my opinion, so are last impressions.

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As you may know already, every activity that was held during ARX 2013 was at its best and the last activity was no different.  This last activity gave us the opportunity to leave an excellent last impression on our mentors and colleagues.

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The program was started with a variety show where most of us had the opportunity to exhibit our talents. After some frustration by our robots at the final challenge and our effort to try to give ourselves some encouragement, we were faced by something that sent us galloping to the computer laboratory; we had to go rehearse for our acts in preparation for the variety show.

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That evening we became happy boys and girls and hence performed wonderfully at the variety show. I believe you can guess what followed the variety show; we had an ice-cream party and jams.

Philospher, Rafael and Lawrence.

ARX: The Final Challenge

This part of the day was the most exciting, interesting and quite innovative. The happiest time we had was at the final challenge when a lot of activities were going on. Every group was busy calculating, rearranging, organizing and planning on how to come out with a working robot.

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The final challenge took place in the afternoon where some of our parents were invited to witness our progress so far in the program and the end result. The project went on smoothly; some robots were exciting, others were disappointing.

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In every challenge there is to be a winner and a loser. There were three teams whose robots performed exceedingly above all other teams; they were giving awards and certificates for their hard work. Each member of the rest of the teams was also given certificates for participation and hard work.

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We are very excited and grateful for the assistance and cooperation given us by the Ashesi team, we hope to get another chance to experience all this again. We hope to apply to Ashesi in the near future and pray we do get admitted.

Kedamawit, Helena and Grace

The Unforgettable Friday.

So it is Friday in Ashesi which means I am going home the next day and it was really a lot of fun that day. It was also a lot of fun to see some of us back to the programming of our robots for the final challenge.

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Early in the morning we had our breakfast and went back to the lab to build our frustrating robot, trying to get parts assembled properly and looking for some logical errors which could be corrected. We also saw how robots could behave perfectly and then during the challenge disappoint us. This has made us understand, that as an engineer you have to make sure you practice more efficiently even during the time your robot is behaving perfectly, so as to ensure more accurate values for the robot’s maximum perfection.

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After lunch, the time was due and the final challenge was ready to kick off. Some of our parents attended the program to witness our progress and what we have been able to accomplish. When the time came for the challenge to begin, we were all reluctant to go because we wanted to make some last minute error detections and corrections. I am happy in Ashesi and sad that I am leaving the next day, I recognize I had many friends and will really miss them a lot. The competition started; a lot of robots were able to complete their tasks successfully, others did not have it too well, anyway every robot was able to complete the task in less than four minutes

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Afterwards we were all given certificates.  With joy in our hearts, and sorrow because would have to go back home tomorrow, we took pictures and had a talent show.

Justice, Caleb and Takhele

Who Is More Annoying, Robots Or Humans?

DSCN3786After this morning’s experience, I can bet that robots can be more annoying than humans.                                                                                                               Can u imagine that I programmed my robot to follow a wall and it was trying to climb the wall instead, I programmed it to follow a black line and it was spinning instead? Well, I was not the only frustrated person in the lab; I caught sight of a fair boy in a yellow shirt across the room and I could see him battling with tears. It was so frustrating and yet so funny. But one thing really amazed me; no team ever gave up although occasionally some will just sit and stare at their robots.

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Trial and error was the motto of the morning as teams worked tirelessly to make their robots work. However, a couple of teams had it easy though, their robots were working perfectly and the smiles on their faces showed it all. Anyway, I managed to get my robot to follow the wall and trust me, it wasn’t easy. If you ever get to program robots, remember to have lots of patience because robots can really, really annoy.

 Lily, Fatima and Fedora

 

The Blog on Movie Night – 4D

Some people prefer action movies, others animation but I definitely go with comedy!

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After all the hard work and trying to make our robots work to perfection, we definitely needed a break and YES, the mentors did it again! It was the MOVIE NIGHT!!! Three of our lecture halls were modified into cinemas, each showing a movie which actually started at 7:10pm, with loads and loads of movie trailers the movie finally begun at 7:45pm. The cinema showing Parental Guidance was packed!

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I preferred to dedicate my night to laughter so I watched Parental Guidance. It is a 2012 movie that runs for an hour and forty-five minutes and it centers on an old couple, Artie and Diane, who agree to look after their grandchildren when their parents had to leave town. Problems arise when the kids’ twenty-first century behaviors collide with Artie and Diane’s old school methods. I really enjoyed as it was complimented with some popcorn and Fandango, it made the perfect mood.

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“Iron Man 3 was amazing!” – Emma.

“The movies were cool but I wished the Fandango would be milkshakes” – Marvin.

“Epic is just…No word can describe how I feel! – Andrews.

Other satisfied viewers also had these thoughts. The movie night turned out well, it was enjoyed by all and this was no 3D but definitely 4D!

Salomey and Richeal

The Easy Escape from Think-A-Bot Land.

We’re here debating amongst ourselves on the controversial topic of whether evening starts at 16:00 or at dark. Well, the majority is supporting the former; here are our adventures in the evening at Ashesi University College on August 14. We were informed at Aburi Gardens of the history of a crashed helicopter by Delali whilst the ‘chilling’ went on there. Then came the sad part: the return. Hey wait, that could be a cool movie title. Anyway, we returned to the grandest stage of all, Ashesi (Don’t think so? Then you really need to see the pictures) to continue our Robotics workshop.

JUST HOW HARD CAN IT GET AND DO WE SMELL FRUSTRATION?

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Well, we resumed the workshop on robotics around 7:00 GMT. We, the Ashesi mentees – worked on our almost complete robots with some supervision from our mentors, whom we sometimes hate because the just don’t really take their eyes off us, and love because they do help us in our assessment and evaluation of robot performances. We did complete assembling and coding our robots to undertake the given day’s task which was to make the robot go through a maze using its sensors (ultrasound, touch and light sensors) with the ‘smallest bit’ of help from Dr. Korsah (the charming and witty Assistant Professor of the Computer Science Department at Ashesi). Dr. Korsah gave us some hints on calculating the right spin motions on the NXT’s wheels to keep the robot from going off its intended course which happen in most cases leaving us wondering just what was wrong and wishing that the robots could at least perform a little thinking on their own.

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Additionally, our school teachers, who are in the ICT department in our various schools, came along to see how far we were going with the robotics course. Though we must admit, we caught some people almost dozing off and others fidgeting with their phones mostly out of stress and exhaustion, but it was a really fun and educating experience.

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Later in the evening when the workshop was over, we were made to think about the acts we were performing in our respective groups for the Talent Show on Friday. Oh how busy every group was as the lab became as busy and as noisy as a typical market place. Some even looked up some stuff from the internet to polish up their acts. Eventually, two groups had the chance to practice and polish up their acts for Friday at the ‘Cave’.

THE END? NOT REALLY.

Well with all of this practicing, I just can’t wait till Friday to see what the various groups have in store for us. Too add to the story Delali told us about the helicopter and the Japanese pilot, well, that was all made up.

Remember to apply for an Ashesi education today. Why? Because Ashesi trains ethical and entrepreneurial leaders, has world class teaching staff and a campus that is a sight to behold, gives scholarships, improves lives and most importantly gives young people like you and me the chance to better our learning experiences.

Nana, Terry and Kwasi

How About the Canopy of Life?: Our Trip to Aburi Gardens

DSC00096DSC00100In the beginning, man did not have access to the tree of life. An alternative: the canopy of life. At 2:10pm two MMT buses took off taking all eighty and something of us on board. As the bus set of, we were Aburi Gardens bound. One bus had students singing ‘jamma’ tunes while the other bus had students all prim and proper. Most of them had their ears stuffed with earphones; listening to music or probably trying to drown everyone out. By 12:33pm we were still on this dusty road that seemed to never end, however, after about two minutes of dreading we got onto to asphalt road and we could finally breathe more freely.

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We got to Aburi Gardens at about 12:50pm but as at 1:20pm, we still were not certain about where exactly we would settle for the picnic. While the team in charge of the picnic set up the area, we were sent on a tour around Aburi Gardens, we got to a place called the ‘canopy of life’ where it was said, that if one stood under it for an hour one’s life span would be increased by two minutes.  However, this ‘fact’ has not been proven as the security man never allows anyone stay that long under the canopy. We then moved to the historic chopper of one Japanese suicide military officer who, mistaking the site for American soil crash-landed but did not die. He lost an arm and had to survive on raw flesh, fruits and leaves in Aburi Gardens (it was then a forest area) until he was rescued by his people.  This Japanese officer went on to become the first one-handed Japanese pilot; it is good to know that all the efforts for survival were solely for the good of his country.  Apparently, the chopper still emits some radiation hence it is unwise to go near it. Fact of fiction? Your choice.

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After the tour we settled down for lunch, and then we had different games of volleyball, cards and tug of war. As a whole group we had a relay game of sprinting, sack racing, filling a bottle with water, threading a needle, unscrambling words and finally a lime and spoon race. By 4:15pm we were having a hearty time of musical chairs, a girl won amidst her male opponent almost snatching the chair. Finally at 4:30pm we all cleared up and out having had so much fun and meeting new people. At 4:50pm we were already on our way back to Ashesi, very tired and all smiles.DSCN3761

Klenam, Firmine and Marian