The Embassy of the United States of America in Brunei Darussalam, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) jointly organised and hosted a public lecture, under the U.S. Speaker Program, by Dr. Ayanna Howard, Chair of the School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). The public lecture consisted of two sessions entitled "Overview of Dr. Ayanna Howard's journey in STEM: Future and Perspectives on AI and Robotics" and "University Research Spinoffs and Technopreneurship". The event was held at the Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences (PAPRSB IHS) Lecture Theatre 2, UBD.
Currently, Dr. Howard is the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Professor and has been recognised as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by Business Insider and one of the Top 50 U.S. Women in Tech by Forbes. Dr. Howard has made significant contributions in the technology areas of artificial intelligence, computer vision, and robotics. Her published research, currently numbering over 250 peer-reviewed publications, has been widely disseminated in international journals and conference proceedings.
In her first session, Dr. Howard provided an overview of her journey in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) world. She has over 20 years of Research and Development (R&D) experience covering a number of projects that have been supported by various agencies including: National Science Foundation, Procter and Gamble, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), ExxonMobil, Intel, and the Grammy Foundation.
Dr. Howard shared experiences and insight from her life at NASA, including the Mars Rover Exploration and the use of rover explorers for glacier environments. By working at NASA before entering the academic world, she brings a unique perspective to the academic environment. She further shared eye-opening perspectives on the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics, such as robotics for pediatric healthcare.
In the second session, Dr. Howard delivered a compelling lecture on university research spinoffs and technopreneurship. Dr. Howard drew on her experiences in developing Zyrobotics, LLC, in 2013, a university spin-off which is currently licensing technology derived from her research and has released their first suite of mobile therapy and educational products for children with differing needs.
By sharing her journey from laboratory innovations to start-ups, particularly in the area of consumer robotics and novel AI technologies of the future, Dr. Howard's second session serves as an inspiration to budding research students currently studying in universities in Brunei.
The public lecture is in line with UBD's vision to be a University of Innovation and Enterprise and UTB's vision to become a Global University Impacting Society, in contributing to Brunei's Vision 2035 to prepare the Bruneian youth for employment and achievement in a world that is increasingly competitive and knowledge-based.
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