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AUS IT Specialist wins UAE Hackathon helping people of determination perform daily chores
With a project focused on helping people of determination to perform daily duties without assistance, American University of Sharjah’s (AUS) IT Specialist Sham Al Khalaf won first place in the UAE Hackathon earlier this month under the category “Developing the Educational System, Vision, Indicators and Outputs.”
“I'm passionate about using technology to solve real-world problems, and when I heard about the UAE Hackathon, I was excited to create a solution that could make a positive social impact. Also, it proved to be an opportunity to showcase my skills and potentially win the competition. I'm grateful for the experience and thrilled that my hard work paid off. It is also a rewarding career achievement,” said Al Khalaf.
Inline with the UAE Centennial 2071, the UAE Hackathon explores adaptable advanced solutions and innovative projects to face the rapidly evolving change in the tools of emerging technologies, such as Internet of Things, big data and data analysis, artificial intelligence, blockchain, metaverse, intelligent chatbot, augmented reality, 3D/4D printings, and other trending technologies.
Named “UnityAI,” the winning project focused on helping people with limited abilities to perform tasks alone without assistance using brainwave signals.
“As a young entrepreneur, winning this hackathon has given me a valuable opportunity to network with experts in my field and gain exposure for my ideas. I participated in the entrepreneurs and experts track of the hackathon, which gave me the tools and resources I needed to take my ideas to the next level. Moving forward, I plan to use this experience as a springboard to build something meaningful and impactful. I'm excited to explore new possibilities and see where this journey takes me. My ultimate goal is to create innovative solutions that address actual problems and make a positive difference in the world,” she said.
Al Khalaf spent four months working individually on her project, employing a variety of technical and soft skills, particularly programming, to develop the technical components of her project since it is based on machine learning. She also used data analysis to understand the data she was working with and presentation skills to present to the judges and audience.
“These three skills in particular allowed me to develop a strong, effective project and ultimately win the hackathon. I also received excellent support from the AUS College of Engineering (CEN), where I work, during the hackathon. My supervisor and colleagues were incredibly supportive and gave me the time I needed to participate and prepare for the competition. They believed in my abilities and encouraged me throughout the process. I'm very grateful for the support I received from my workplace, which undoubtedly played a significant role in my success in the hackathon,” said Al Khalaf.
Currently pursuing a Master of Science in Business Analytics, Al Khalaf said that her experience taught her that it is important for any young entrepreneurs to not be afraid to take the first step toward achieving their goals.
“Start pursuing your innovative ideas, even if it seems daunting at first. I truly believe that the real capital is the innovative mind, and with the right mindset and tools, anyone can turn their ideas into successful ventures. So, work smarter not harder, and be persistent in the pursuit of your dreams,” said Al Khalaf.