Medical experts from the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System traveled to Abu Dhabi from December 15-19 to teach Emirati students about medical robotics. Craig Peters, MD, and Kevin Cleary, PhD, were part of the TECH QUEST program developed by the Advanced Technology Investment Company in Abu Dhabi. Dr. Peters and Dr. Cleary taught over 80 high school students how to build and program the Lego Mindstorms robotics hardware and software. The course was taught on the campus of Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
“The course was a tremendous opportunity for us to educate the next generation of Emirati leaders about the potential of medical robotics”, said Dr. Peters, a urologist who leads the medical robotics program at Children’s National. “Hopefully we can interest more young people in careers in medicine and engineering”.
“I was impressed by the caliber of students who came to the course” said Dr. Cleary, the Technical Director of the Institute’s Bioengineering Initiative. “The students worked very hard and made great progress in a very short time”.
The medical robotics educational module was developed by Dr. Cleary and Dr. Peters with the assistance of Aseem Jain, an intern at Children’s from the Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Virginia. The module consisted of two parts: a hardware module and a software module. The medical scenario was a 14 year old child with a mass in the kidney that needed a biopsy. To simulate the scenario, we used jello cups with a bean in the middle as a target. After the students built the robot hardware and programmed the software, there was a competition to see which group could come closest to targeting the bean with a thin wooden needle.